Upgrading Advice - DX to FX

jjb930jjb930 Posts: 80Member
edited March 2014 in Nikon DSLR cameras
Hello,

I've been using the site for a few months to keep up to date on Nikon products and to develop ideas for upgrading my Nikon D5100. I am finally getting to the point where I feel that I can justify the upgrade (i.e., in terms of use and knowledge); however, I would appreciate advice from experienced members on the best course of action I should take.

Generally speaking, my photography generally consists of:
#1 macro (insects, science,etc)
#2 landscapes
#3 long-exposure night photography (i.e., stars)
#4 some wildlife (i.e., birds, deer, etc).
With this upgrade, I also want the ability to dabble in portraits/weddings. This is not my priority, but something that I could build up over time.

In addition to my D5100, I have the current gear:
Glass:
Nikon 50mm 1.8 AF-S
Tamron 90mm 2.8 Macro
Nikon 70-300mm VR f4-5.6 AF-S
Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6

Accessories:
Kenko Extension Tubes for Macro
Nikon SB-700 Flash

My plan:
Camera:
The hardest decision to make and where I could use the most feedback. I know the D610 is probably the best choice in terms of quality/cost ratio. It is a great camera that could probably handle everything I throw at it.

However, I am also agonizing over how the D800 is particularly well suited for macro and landscape photography. I like how the large sensor allows for flexible cropping options and that it also has more focus points. Because the D800 excels at my two primary shooting approaches, I am starting to believe I should go with it instead of the D610.

Lenses:
I know I have work to do in the lens department. However, I also believe that my initial purchases were careful enough that most of my lenses will work well on FX (i.e., Nikon 50mm, Tamron 90mm, and Nikon 70-300mm). I know I would eventually need to upgrade to a better macro lens (i.e., Sigma 150mm 2.8) and a better telephoto (i.e., Nikon 70-200mm VR 2.8); however, I feel both of these lenses will work for the time being.

The Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 definitely has to go and I plan to upgrade that lens first. I definitely want a 2.8 lens, and have been looking at the few limited options (i.e., Tokina 16-28mm 2.8 FX Pro, cheapo Rokinon 14mm 2.8, or the Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 with the huge price tag,), but I am still undecided on what is best. Feedback relating to the best camera choice and lens upgrades would be very much appreciated!








Post edited by jjb930 on
Nikon D800 | Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | Nikon 85mm f/1.8G | Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro | Tamron 150-600mm f/ 5-6.3 | Nikon SB700 | Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set | Cactus V6 Transceiver Set | SDMV Speedbox 60 Diffuser | FotoPro T83-C CF Tripod | FotoPro NGC-75 CF Monopod
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Comments

  • jjb930jjb930 Posts: 80Member
    Ironheart,

    Thanks for the reply. I agree that is one of the core issues, but I was also inquiring about lenses and their best upgrade paths, so I figured that other thread only partially covered my issue.
    Nikon D800 | Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | Nikon 85mm f/1.8G | Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro | Tamron 150-600mm f/ 5-6.3 | Nikon SB700 | Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set | Cactus V6 Transceiver Set | SDMV Speedbox 60 Diffuser | FotoPro T83-C CF Tripod | FotoPro NGC-75 CF Monopod
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,370Moderator
    The question is always what one's budget will allow. And, this is the first thing to be determined before any real discussion of what to buy is pursued. You are comparing or considering a $300 lens or a $2000 lens… If there is no limit, get a D800E, 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor, 105mm f/2.8 VR Micro Nikkor, and the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II Nikkor….that should kill $7500…..

    Or, if your budget is limited, maybe a D610, an 85mm f/1.8 Nikkor which with extension tubes works well as a macro, and a 70-200mm f/4 Nikkor. Less than $4000.
    Msmoto, mod
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,056Member
    I have both a D600 and a D800. The D800 is "too much" in that I don't need it for most of what I shoot (portraits, landscapes). Only when I definitely plan on printing at 24 by 36 do I really gain any benefit from the D800 and that benefit is quite small. The sensor in the D600/D610 is really great in my opinion and will print easily to 24 by 36. I don't think anyone could really tell the difference between them at that size. The other time I use the D800 is when I am shooting birds with my 300 mm lens and want to turn it into a 600 mm by extensive cropping of the image. There are a few more pixels left after extensive cropping in the D800. Truth be told, I do believe the advantage the D800 offers over the D600/610 are minor and relate more to a preference for the control layout and the more robust build rather than to a better Image Quality. We get all seduced by those 36 megapixels but realize that many pros use a 16 mp D4 because the additional 20 megapixels are not necessary. If 16 megapixels are enough for pros then certainly 24 megapixels are enough for us. I think the next D5 will go to 25 megapixels. We can have that now really cheap in the D600/D610. Out files, at ISO 100 through ISO 1600, can be just as good now as a D5 files will be many years from now.
  • Vipmediastar_JZVipmediastar_JZ Posts: 1,708Member
    I would suggest the D800. I like everything about it including the grip. With the d600 i disliked the grip with the 24-70.
    For landscape I like the viewfinder curtain and is better than the piece it comes with it seperately. I am not sure if the d 610 has the curtain or plastic piece.

    As far as the sigma 10-20. I had that lens and i had fun with it. It was a hard choice of either getting the 24-70 first or the nikon 16-35 f4 when I upgraded to FX. I picked the 24-70 and now im wanting a UWA like you.

    The nikon 14-24 doesnt take filters. Will you use it to shoot landscapes at f2.8? If so and the nikon is too pricey I have heard the tokina is a good contender.

  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,056Member
    Yes, the clustered focus points (caused by using a DX module in an FX body) are a serious weakness I complained about when the D600 first came out and have mentioned many times since. If you shoot heads and shoulders or waist up portraits you are ok but if you shoot at F1.4 or F2 with the framing PitchBlack so commonly uses the D600/610 is worthless to you because focus and recompose doesn't have enough DOF to use at those wide apertures. However, if you shoot your portraits at f8 or f11 or f16 you will have enough DOF for the focus and recompose technique. One "work around" is to put the top focus spot on the eye and allow enough extra space in the frame to crop it to your desired composition in post production. Of course, you lose pixels but that won't matter if you are just viewing the image on a monitor or HDTV (which both can display only about 2 megapixels anyway) or if you are not printing larger than about 16 x 24. If you shoot regularly as PitchBlack does (using his composition and f-stop preference) the D600/D610's great sensor is worthless to you because you cannot focus properly. Since portraiture is not a priority of yours the clustered focus points may not be an issue for you. They are a minor irritation to me now but when I start shooting at f1.4 I will use my D800 because of the wider spread of focus points. Personally, I would like to see focus points cover an even wider area of the image than found in the D800 or D4. A nearly full frame (or at least covering 85% of the frame) focus point spread would be preferable.
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    The D600 has more clustered focus points than the D800? I find even the D800 frustrating in that regard.

    Nikon has to fix this.

    While they are at it they can add radio trigger to their flash system so we don't need pocket wizards. Canon just did that with their top end flash for the same price as the SB-910. I am looking at the pocket wizards - 3 wizards and a zone controller is >$700. Nikon should be able to do this for a hundred dollars.
  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    @WestEnd, can we at least have the illusion of staying on topic?
    The OPs main subjects:1) macro (insects, science) 2) landscapes 3) long exposure night photograph (stars)
    Given that, and no budget restrictions, the D800 seems to be the best choice.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    The D610 has 4 advantages over the D800

    It is cheaper
    Its is lighter
    It is smaller
    slightly more fps

    I shoot the same subjects as you, I have had my D800 for 2 years and in over 50 years of photography , It is the best camera I have ever owned, by a mile

    If the additional fps are not important, you can afford the D800, and don't mind the additional size and weight get the D800

    If your results are not excellent, you can rest assured, it will not be the cameras fault

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    edited March 2014
    Let's also not forget 1/8000 shutter, 1/250 flash sync, and 20% less shutter lag.
    A pic is worth 1000 words on the focus area:
    image
    Post edited by Ironheart on
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,171Member
    I love macro photography and I very rarely use AF with macro (only use it when i forget to turn it off ;-) ) so there is no issue with the clustered AF with macro ..
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • IronheartIronheart Posts: 3,017Moderator
    I love macro photography and I very rarely use AF with macro (only use it when i forget to turn it off ;-) ) so there is no issue with the clustered AF with macro ..
    Or landscape or nighttime stars for that matter... Good (focus) point =))
  • jjb930jjb930 Posts: 80Member
    Hi all,

    Thank you for the great feedback.

    I recently listed my Sigma 10-20mm on a local ad and plan to sell it later today. I found the Tokina 16-28mm 2.8 Pro FX on sale at B&H for $599, which I think is a steal for that price. Sure, the Nikon 14-24mm is slightly better all around, but I think you could achieve fantastic photos with either lens and the price/performance ratio of the Tokina is unbeatable. I also think it is a great option at the moment, as I will be upgrading a f4-5.6 DX lens to a 2.8 FX lens for only about $250 more.

    Msmoto pointed out the obvious issue: budget. Although I do not have an unlimited budget, I am willing to make this purchase an investment that I can add to over time. Shooting styles evolve, techniques get refined, and as an amateur/enthusiast, I don't think I need to buy every top piece of glass on day 1. That being said, I think the compatible lenses I currently own will serve me well on either the D610 or D800 until I can make upgrades to top of the line glass.

    As per some recommendations, I think I need to physically hold the different bodies and get a feel for the body, controls, and weight to help make the best decision for body.
    Nikon D800 | Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | Nikon 85mm f/1.8G | Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro | Tamron 150-600mm f/ 5-6.3 | Nikon SB700 | Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set | Cactus V6 Transceiver Set | SDMV Speedbox 60 Diffuser | FotoPro T83-C CF Tripod | FotoPro NGC-75 CF Monopod
  • SquamishPhotoSquamishPhoto Posts: 608Member
    I love macro photography and I very rarely use AF with macro (only use it when i forget to turn it off ;-) ) so there is no issue with the clustered AF with macro ..
    Exactly. Setting approximate focus manually and then very incremental movements forward or backward to move the plane of critical focus where one wants it is the norm when you're working at 1:1 or closer.
    Mike
    D3 • D750 • 14-24mm f2.8 • 35mm f1.4A • PC-E 45mm f2.8 • 50mm f1.8G • AF-D 85mm f1.4 • ZF.2 100mm f2 • 200mm f2 VR2
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 970Member
    if you shoot at F1.4 or F2 with the framing PitchBlack so commonly uses the D600/610 is worthless to you because focus and recompose doesn't have enough DOF to use at those wide apertures.
    You could just shoot using the back lcd screen. [Warning: one word in the next sentence is sacrilegious around here :-O ]. I regularly use my cell phone and my finger to pick an exact point for focusing when shooting Canon full frame. It works beautifully and allows you to focus on a point anywhere throughout the frame with the touch of a finger.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    ...I found the Tokina 16-28mm 2.8 Pro FX on sale at B&H for $599, which I think is a steal for that price. Sure, the Nikon 14-24mm is slightly better all around, but I think you could achieve fantastic photos with either lens and the price/performance ratio of the Tokina is unbeatable. I also think it is a great option at the moment, as I will be upgrading a f4-5.6 DX lens to a 2.8 FX lens for only about $250 more.

    Msmoto pointed out the obvious issue: budget. Although I do not have an unlimited budget, I am willing to make this purchase an investment that I can add to over time. Shooting styles evolve, techniques get refined, and as an amateur/enthusiast, I don't think I need to buy every top piece of glass on day 1. That being said, I think the compatible lenses I currently own will serve me well on either the D610 or D800 until I can make upgrades to top of the line glass.

    As per some recommendations, I think I need to physically hold the different bodies and get a feel for the body, controls, and weight to help make the best decision for body.
    I have the Tokina 16-28 and it is a great lens. It doesn't match the Nikkor @2.8 but at f4 on up it is on par with it. One thing you might consider is the Nikkor 16-35Vr as well. The distortion is easily corrected in Post. Personally I struggle with desiring that lens over the Tokina. 16-28 is really wide and wider is not always better. The 16-35vr is a better range for shooting. I find myself wanting to get back to 35ish on landscapes often. It is really just preference though.

    In those price ranges that also opens up the 24-120 f4, Tamron 24-70VC, and Tokina 17-35mm as well.

    On the D800 vs D610 From what you described the differences between the two eliminate any "real" difference to you. I think of it in simple terms - are you selling photos or not? How many years ARE you going to use it before upgrading. If you sell your stuff - D800. If this is a camera you are going to use for 5 years. D800. Any other answer than those, D610.
    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • jjb930jjb930 Posts: 80Member
    Tao,

    Great comments. I ultimately sold my Sigma 10-20 and got the Tokina 16-28mm on sale. All in all it was about $250 to upgrade and now I'll have a 2.8 UWA fx lens that is a very sharp.

    In regard to your comment on D610 vs D800:
    I'm not going into this purchase under the assumption I will be selling photos to regain some of the funds back. This is a hobby I find very rewarding and a worthwhile investment. I get to travel several times a year for my career and I enjoy getting to lug my gear around and taking pictures. I also like to spend free time on macro and landscape/astrology. That being said, I wouldn't mind doing some part-time stuff to help absorb some of my costs.

    If I do buy the D800, it would definitely be a 5+ year investment. In the long run I don't think the extra $1000 for a superior body (i.e., weather proofing, better chassis) is a bad thing, even if it might be a bit steep on the front end of things. I know that extra $1000 could go towards some better glass on day 1, but as I've said before, I think I'll be able to take good photos with what I have and upgrade over time.
    Nikon D800 | Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 | Nikon 50mm f/1.8G | Nikon 85mm f/1.8G | Nikon 105mm f/2.8 VR Macro | Tamron 150-600mm f/ 5-6.3 | Nikon SB700 | Kenko Auto Extension Tube Set | Cactus V6 Transceiver Set | SDMV Speedbox 60 Diffuser | FotoPro T83-C CF Tripod | FotoPro NGC-75 CF Monopod
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,712Member
    What you forget is that any FX camera will be very noisy compared to a DX ( shutter noise) I measured the D800 and its 6x louder than the D7100 too noisy to use in a church. The D800 has terrible memories which function in a totally different way to the D610or D7100....if you want the MP you need to wear ear plugs.
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 970Member
    What you forget is that any FX camera will be very noisy compared to a DX ( shutter noise) I measured the D800 and its 6x louder than the D7100 too noisy to use in a church. The D800 has terrible memories which function in a totally different way to the D610or D7100....if you want the MP you need to wear ear plugs.
    If You think the 7100 is quiet then try a 6D in quiet mode.
    However I agree with you about shutter noise in general. Its way too loud.
  • TaoTeJaredTaoTeJared Posts: 1,306Member
    I don't quite follow the AF points argument or the shutter sounds. Yes I get the arguments - but there is nothing that can happen now and to me those are people'/individual's personal gripes of items they wish were better. We can't do anything about it and no other companies offer anything resoundingly better as an option - actually most others are 10x worse.
    If I do buy the D800, it would definitely be a 5+ year investment. In the long run I don't think the extra $1000 for a superior body (i.e., weather proofing, better chassis) is a bad thing, even if it might be a bit steep on the front end of things. I know that extra $1000 could go towards some better glass on day 1, but as I've said before, I think I'll be able to take good photos with what I have and upgrade over time.
    I think it is real important to be really honest about how long you will own it. On the front page they are saying a D800 refresh will be this year. A full upgrade is due in 2 years. The yearning for new attacks us all - the real question is how well does one deal with it.

    A second thought is that (and I say this with much honestly) I rarely have ever needed 36mp or truly found it to be that much "better." I need a pro body, fast shutter, build quality and AF for what I do. (I have already this week smacked about 5 doors hard - and it keeps on clicking.;) I need a body that can I am confident it can take daily abuse.) The MP are really the last in a decision point. 24mp is more than enough. Glass is 1,000 more times important than any body. I would suggest saving $$ on the body as an upgrade will be out in 3 years or less for both, and look at better glass options. For instance I have the 70-300vr & 70-200vr I and the latter blows the 70-300vr away in performance, hand holding, detail etc. As you know the 70-300vr is a really good lens. Or if you really like macro, adding a second flash or some better modifiers/grip equipment would be an even longer lasting purchase.

    My point being, there are many things that could make your images many, many times better than the difference between the D610 vs. D800. Too many times people think they are limited by the body when actually they are limited by only believing an image is just a body and a lens.


    D800, D300, D50(ir converted), FujiX100, Canon G11, Olympus TG2. Nikon lenses - 24mm 2.8, 35mm 1.8, (5 in all)50mm, 60mm, 85mm 1.8, 105vr, 105 f2.5, 180mm 2.8, 70-200vr1, 24-120vr f4. Tokina 12-24mm, 16-28mm, 28-70mm (angenieux design), 300mm f2.8. Sigma 15mm fisheye. Voigtlander R2 (olive) & R2a, Voigt 35mm 2.5, Zeiss 50mm f/2, Leica 90mm f/4. I know I missed something...
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    A critical point is the price difference. A month ago in the UK the difference was only £200
    it is now £600
  • donaldejosedonaldejose Posts: 3,056Member
    edited March 2014
    If you really want to save money and live in the US you could buy a used D600 for around $1,500 or even less and send it to Nikon for the new free shutter replacement. That combo may be the very cheapest way to get into FX. There are a few old 35mm Nikon AF lenses which work quite well also and can be bought cheap. Today, a person can get into FX, including usable lenses, for under $2,000.
    Post edited by donaldejose on
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,712Member
    price is not an issue ...at jessops D800 £400 down £160 rebate then £75 a month....why pay out £2000 and get £1000 back in 3 years ??? Only problem my rebate appication of Dec 15 has still not been paid " another couple of weeks " Bad Bad Nikon very Bad.
  • mustangdarenmustangdaren Posts: 27Member
    Just get a D600/D610, you'll will be very happy with it. I went D40X, D90, D7000 and then D600 and I love it. The image quality is a leap over DX in my oppinion and the ability to shoot clean high ISO is no comparison to a DX camera. Use the money saved for pro glass. My 28-300VR looked great on the D7000 image wise but I can see it's flaws way more on the full frame camera. I shoot landscapes a lot and looked at a ultra wide angle but then decided on something I could use for portraits also if needed so I went with the Nikon 24-70. It set a new standard for what I want for my lenses now. Extemely crisp landscape shots and great bokeh for portrait. Makes me not even want to put the 28-300 on the camera. Another good performer for the price is the 80-200 f/2.8. You can find them used for $700. I use it for motorsports and also it is even trumps the 24-70 for portraits, at least to my eyes. I too drool over a D800E but 24mpix already pushes my PC and storage capacity to it's max. You will find yourself with a lot of 1+ Terrbyte external drives hooked up with either camera. It doesn't take long to have a massive amount of data files with these high mpix cameras. Good luck with your decision. Congrats on the great price on the 16-28 lens. That is a steal. Might have to try and catch a deal like that myself. Heard really great reviews on that lens.
  • manhattanboymanhattanboy Posts: 970Member
    Glass is 1,000 more times important than any body. I would suggest saving $$ on the body as an upgrade will be out in 3 years or less for both, and look at better glass options.
    I second this!! However, I would still choose a 610 over the 600 if going for the cheaper body because of the ability to shoot in quiet continuous mode on the 610. Honestly a big draw of full frame is indoor shooting and no one likes to hear a machine gun DSLR going off indoors.
    Today, a person can get into FX, including usable lenses, for under $2,000.
    You are correct sir. Full frame is great for everything <200mm. I still prefer my crop sensor for tele (200mm+) shooting though.
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