Good people. Can you advise me to whether I'm going crazy?
I'm technically professional photographer. For the past 6 months all the money I've earned has been from photography, but I don't really have the fancy pro gear. So currently my only camera is a D7000 and I really feel I need to get a second body to do justice to the work that's starting to come my way.
Obviously I've considered going full frame. The D4 is probably pushing my budget and I really don't feel like I need one. The D800 is tempting, but I would like more than 4fps and the 36MP files sound like a bit of a hand full. After converting my RAW files to TIFF my shoots are coming out at 10GB with my D7000, so 36MP sounds like a headache. Then there's the D610. It looks like a great camera, except for it's AF system. It's the same as the one in my D7000 and it's served me well, but I am often fighting with it in low light. And at least the AF covers nearly the whole frame in the D7000 rather than a tiny bit in the middle for the D610.
So the other option is the D7100. Nearly identical to the D610, except it's not full frame and it has a superior AF. Also it's a decent bit cheaper and I would probably have to invest in some new glass if I went full frame.
So one of my many questions is, is full frame really that much better than DX? I've looked at low light performance and there doesn't look to be that much difference. I've heard people go on about the feel of a full frame photo. Is there really a better depth to the files coming out of a full frame or is that just camera nerds trying to sound artistic to justify their full frame camera?
It's a real dilemma. One of my photographer friends (a recent Nikon defector) is trying to convince me to go Fuji. That's a bit out there but feel free to comment on it.
It would be helpful if you could tell us what types of subjects you will be photographing and then what lens you currently have.
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Fuji is a good option .. its got very good DR and colours which is good for your kind of work. the new 56mm F1.2 would be awesome for your work.. on average their lenses are almost 1 stop brighter! and reviews very well.
I am a DX advocate but in your case i think the D610 or Df or D800 could really help. Get one FX camera and the 85mm or even the 58mm and I think you will have the skill to really get some stunning images..
The D7100 is also an excellent camera :-)
Re the "Feel" .. its mainly due to the shallower DOF. in the Nikon line up of lenses DX is weaker than FX .. but we now have the 18-35 Sigma F1.8 that levels the playing field making it equivalent in DOF and ability in lowlight.. similarly the 56mm F1.2 from Fuji is probably going to be the best DX portrait lense which complements their Fuji cameras well known for being the best portrait sensors!
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.
What I like about the Dx/fx setup is the variety of focal lengths I can get with 3 lenses without mush hassle. I can have a mid wide on one (D7000 w/ 14-24mm) and a mid at a different setting/exposure on one ( D700 w/ 28-70mm) or I could get a superwide (D700 w/ 14-24mm) and a "super" Tele (D7000 w/ 80-200mm) Good glass can make a huge difference in shooting style. Ill shoot my D7000 with the 14-24mm at ISO3200 and the shots have so little noise that after a quick run through lightroom or pshop they look like they have no noise. A 2.8 gives me that flexibility.
It is a very good idea to have both cameras on you ready to shoot.
Depth of field? Yes there is a difference. Again, in real life the difference is very small.
Summery? Both DX and FX cameras can produce professional quality results, it's a matter of the person behind the camera that matters at the end of the day. Your ability to handle the business end of photography will matter more than whether you camera is DX or FX.
I am speaking as a client, not a photographer (I am an amateur, but an avid one). This is based on personal experience. The guy that shot my wedding had to reshoot it when the card crapped out.
It's time for a reality check - if you look very closely at all the PAD shots, you will find there is no strict relationship between FX and DX being the deciding factor in whether images are any good or not. In fact going further than that, you will see that some of the people with the best gear can produce some of the most average shots. From another angle on this, take a look at Msmoto's images, she usually does excellent work, and yet freely admits that for 90% of her shots, her old D90 would do just as well. So let's put all the gear-heads comments to one side.
Your post caught my eye, because I had the same dilemma as recently as the 23rd December! I have the D7000, and was deciding D610 or D7100 the same as you. The token my wife gave me was good for a D800 too, but I rejected it for the same reason you did. The decision was not so simple to make for the D610 or D7100 as they are both 24mP. In the end, it did come down to the close handling of the D7100 to my D7000, the increasing availability of decent glass for DX and the other reasons you stated PLUS, I did some low light hi ISO tests between the two models and the D7100 really shone in terms of lower noise and better AF in poor light.
I will not tell you what to buy, I will just say that if you do decide to buy the D7100, you will not be disappointed as it is a really great camera. I also found it got a camera of the year award too and presumably the D610 was up for that same prize also.
Good luck with your choice and enjoy!
I think I might rent a few bodies to see what's what.
One of the main reasons for getting a second body is for my wedding photos. The rest of my work is mostly studio stuff and a few promo band shoots. I haven't ever felt like a need a second body for either of those, but it would be good to have one just in case something happens to the first one.
My other concern with the move to full frame is my current lens line up. I have a Nikon 17-55mm 2.8, Nikon 35mm 1.8, Nikon 50mm 1.4, Nikon 85mm 1.8, Nikon 135mm 2 DC and a Tokina 11-16mm 2.8. Since I use a lot of primes having a full frame with a different field of view might take away the advantage of a second body.
I might try out a D800 and D610 with a 24-70mm and keep my D7000 for primes.
Also I think this is a bit unfair. I'm managing to pay my bills better as a photographer than I did as a synthetic chemist. Being a pro isn't about how satisfied you are with your current camera and lenses. I'm sure there's a lot of pros in this forum that know what they want in their gear, but have to make compromises because of what's available. I would like a camera that's a mix of the D800, D700 and D600, but it doesn't exist, so I have to weigh up and see what's the best compromise. As long as my clients are happy with the images I'm giving them, that doesn't make me any less of a pro.
And another thing, this is crazy, but I think it is true. Before I had the battery back, nobody noticed my camera. Unless people looked closely, it could be a D5xxx and there are lots of those. Now it must look like a D4, because lots of people notice it and I get compliments. A few have even said, "you are the best photographer I know." I cringed when I heard those comments. I just love the hobby. I personally find this a little awkward, but consider how it might make your life easier as a professional. If you show up with a D4 (or something that looks like it (D610 with battery pack say), the client "may" give you the benefit of the doubt or not even think about your competence. If you show up with something that is not as good as "Uncle Bob's", they may wonder why they are paying you.
I would rather have a D3XXX in the hands of a skilled photographer than a D800 in the hands of a novice, but as a photographer you are also a self marketer and a lot of that "marketing bs" may "make your life easier".
I'm rough around the edges and need all the help I can get. I hate the D800 file sizes but I find the 36MP a wonderful crutch which saves a lot of my shots by letting me "compose" 12MP images in post. My new year's resolutions this year are two:
1) Climb the learning curve on the 58mm lens
2) Get better at composition so that when my D800E ultimately dies, if the D5s or D6 "only" has 16-24MP I won't feel that my skill set is preventing me from buying it.
I would seriously consider selling the D7000 and getting two D7100s
I going to guess, two D4s is not an option
when comes to bangs for bucks the D7100 is very hard to beat
Being a hard working professional, is all about bucks in you pocket, not bucks hanging round your neck
Yes, there are two zooms in my signature, but one is a paperweight and the other is only shot at both ends of the zoom range, so it is really a "two in one" prime.
I may invest in a 17-35 2.8 and a 80-200 2.8 for travel, but only after I am confident that they will not ruin my composition.
Shawn, I hate to disagree with you, but I hear the 'pop a shot off and worry about composition later' argument a lot and I think it is lame every time I hear it. 16 mP is enough for that, 24 is loads, but I'd rather have the 24 in the image not on the cutting room floor We should have a better idea of what we are shooting before we release the shutter.
At times it was difficult to see what was happening in front of you, let alone through the view finder. Having 36 mp to play with, was very re assuring
"We should indeed, but in the recent, cold, wet and windy weather we have "enjoyed" recently, it has been very nice to grab what I could, and compose the shot in the warm and dry"
As it is too, too often the case... Get what you can, when you can, and better _if_ you can.
I would caution you to remember that no one bought him/her self into business. Buying what you absolutely need is the key to success; of course, I think the 'penny-wise, pound-foolish' phrase originated in the UK - still I'd be miserly on how I spent my money. If it doesn't make you money, don't buy it.
as for being a pro. if your pictures pays for your living than you are a pro, doesn't matter what equipment you use.
Most of the things you mention, like the improved autofocus, up to 2x faster buffer rate, etc. are what makes it great compared to the D7000, but also compared to the D610. You state that "I would like more than 4fps" both the 610 and 7100 will do that, but do you really need more than 4 fps for a wedding? Maybe you want to shoot sports?
"Then there's the D610. It looks like a great camera, except for it's AF system." Well the autofocus on the 7100 goes nearly from edge to edge, so if you are shooting stills, the 7100 will allow you to pick almost any spot of the frame for focus which might come in handy for those artistic wedding shots using wide open apertures. Remember that on the 610 the DX autofocus system crowds the points into the center of a much large frame now.
"I am often fighting with it in low light." The Achilles heel of the 7100 is also low light, and even though Nikon now says it can focus down to f8, I have had trouble even on 1.4 lenses. Try using the infrared assist of a good flash like the 910 to help lock focus for the 7100 in low light. Shutter speed is still going to be a killer if you want to keep noise down shooting at night though.
I am starting to use 3 bodies. The 7100, 7000, and 1v1, and switch depending on the shot. I put a tele zoom on the 7100 and shoot it in crop mode, put a fast normal or short tele prime on 7000, and a fast wide angle prime on the 1v1.
For me, I have always felt that the way the pro sports people use two bodies makes the most sense.
As an aside, this article was enjoyable for an interesting perspective about American Football games and shooting with 2 bodies: http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2014/01/photographing-football-in-the-cold.html
If I can't find much between them I might get a couple of D7100's. I really like my current lens set up with a cropped sensor. Throwing a full frame in there will also mess up my double body set up when I'm wanting to use 2 primes i.e. a D7000 with an 85mm is pretty much identical to mounting my 135mm on a D610 in terms of field of view.
Just to answer to a couple of comments. I'm not too concerned about DOF difference between cropped and FX. Also, I would prefer a faster fps than the D800 because there are a few moments during a wedding when a few more fps can come in handy. Having 6 pictures of a first kiss or confetti shot vs 4 can make a difference. Obviously the 8fps of a D700 would be great, but I wouldn't consider one now. It has enough resolution for wedding albums and the like, but I also make frames for my clients, sometimes with 30x40 prints, so 12MP just would not cut it. The 16MP of the D7000 just gets away with it as long as I'm not cropping.
The help is majorly appreciated guys.
For the 7000 I would put any of the 50, 85 or the 135 DC on and take some nice portrait pictures depending on what look you like. 85 and 135 on DX are difficult indoors, but they tend to make people look better or at least slimmer, which at the end of the day counts for a lot knowing how picky brides can be! You're only troubles would be group shots, scene shots, and dance floor shots in the dark, for which the 610 or 800 will be much much better.
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.
@ptrmcky - for A3 (as I presume you are talking 30x40cm not inches) size you can print basically from any current camera, even from iPhone and the client will not see a difference. I'm printing cropped images in A2 size (basically twice this what you do) and never had a resolution issue. just one or two more tweaks in PP. moreover, I've printed A2 size slightly cropped pictures from v1.
when I'm shooting weddings I use my d3s basically 90% of time, using d800 only for prearranged shots or when I need to change the focal length, and don't have time to change the lens. why? because I don't need more MPx and more MPx slows my PP. working with 12MPx files vs 36MPx files.
as for fps... well, I don't wanna question your style, though you will learn - hopefully sooner than later - than even 4fps is enough. couple years ago, when I was shooting my first weddings I also took a lot of burst pictures... that I deleted afterwords. now I need the fps only one occasions: when the couple leaves the church, as over here we have the tradition that rice and small coins are thrown on the newly weds. for anything else, I shoot two - three frames maximum (just to backup the AF, if I'm not sure I got the picture right).
anyway, though you are not in favour of the idea of getting D700, try to rent one and give it a chance. you may be surprised and for the saved cash get a better prime, i.e. 50/1.2.