D700 or Nikon 24 1.4

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by andrew_storey, Feb 15, 2010.

  1. I own a D200 and love it except ISO beyond about 400. Yesterday, I was shooting indoors with my 35 1.8AFS and was getting about 1/20ths @ ISO 400 shooting wide open. That's the only sub-f2.8 lens I own. I'm intrigued by the new Nikon 24 1.4, but it's practically as expensive as a D700 (not quite, but close). I love my D200 and don't have any interest in getting a D700 except for its high ISO capability. So, I'm wondering what are the pros/cons of going with the D700 versus keeping my D200 and getting the 24 1.4. Naturally, this assumes the 24 1.4 turns out to be a splendid performer, which probably everyone expects.
    One note: I fully expect to go FX some day, but I felt like I just bought my D200. And the 24 1.4 would provide a nice focal length on either a DX or an FX IMO. But, if the creative doors would swing wide open by going w/ a D700 instead, I would consider it.
  2. What lens(es) would you use on the D700 were you to get it?
  3. bmm


    Go the lens then. Most people will tell you this. You will enjoy it now, and it will last a long time. And when you are ready for an FX body it will be great on it too.
  4. That's a lot of money for half a stop, Andrew. You could just spend $400 or so on Sigma's 30/1.4 if you want a slightly faster, slightly wider prime for your D300, and unload it for nearly what you paid for it when you make the many-thousands-of-dollars move to an FX body and related lenses.

    If you just go straight to the D700, you'll have to buy a lens or two no matter what. If you spend all of that 24/1.4 money now, you'll scarcely be taking advantage of it. You really have to jump all the way off the cliff, or just wait a while, I think.
  5. The move to FX, while definitely worthwhile, is also very expensive. Lenses hold their value much better than do camera bodies. In fact for the product cycle present now it may be a good idea to wait for the new round of FX sensor bodies to come out and see where they go with them, and that will also make the D700 much more affordable as it will be seen to be "obsolete" which of course is ridiculous. For the majority of amateur photographers, the D700 is far and away more camera than they will ever need for many years (even if NAS does take hold).
    The 24/1.4 will be more of a specialty lens so that should be considered in the prospective purchase. If you are going to be shooting wide angle a lot it will be a neat lens to have. On DX I suppose it would simulate a 36mm so it would be a good FL to have. Lot of money for that one lens which is OK if you would use it all the time.
  6. Sigma offers a 24mm f/1.8 for under $500. It might be worth looking into.
  7. As much as I love shooting without a flash, it is sometimes necessary.
    Spend under $120 and purchase a Nikon SB-400 Speedlight. It's as small as your 35mm f/1.8 and has a small bounce head. This can help solve your "shooting indoors" issues without forking over a ton of cash.
  8. Gah! Not the SB-400! At least use the 600. Along with the reduced power, the 400 can't be used as a CLS slave (a very powerful feature native to the D200 body) and can't bounce from the ceiling when you're shooting in portrait orientation. Andrew doesn't sound unwilling to put reasonable money into things, but does care how things look... and off-camera flash is a huge boon in that regard. I agree, Richard, that sometimes it's necessary - but when that moment comes, I'd feel truly cramped by the SB-400's significant limitations.

    Certainly, well-used off-camera or cleverly bounced flash can make far more of a difference than a slightly (barely!) faster lens.
  9. I have a D200 and when I lack enough light for ISO 400 I will put it on a tripod or use a flash. I sometimes just don't take a picture and I have found it is not a terminal condition.
  10. A 24 is a 36 on DX. It certainly seems like an awful lot of money, as Matt said, unless you'll use it as your main lens, all the time. Too many eggs in only one basket. The D700, if you're ready, will open up an entirely new world of photography. I moved to a D700 from a D200 just over a year ago and have not looked back. Now I want a D3x, but will wait a while to see what Nikon has up its sleeve in the next 6-9 months.
    Good luck.
  11. Andrew, the 24/1.4 is a bit of a special use, high-end, very expensive lens...at least it better deliver high-end performance. It's also somewhat telling to read that you'd find it acceptable on either DX or FX format as most would consider the angle of view to be vastly different and either meeting a specific requirement or being way off the mark.
    I will venture to say that if you needed that lens you would recognize the need straight away and not feel the need to consult the gallery. You will be far better served by shooting a newer body that offers better high ISO performance which you can shoot with a variety of lenses. Forum members, as you've noticed, are very adept at spending other's money ;)
  12. As mentioned, a D700 is just the tip of the FX cost iceberg. I've been finding that out first-hand since last June. Why not sell the D200 and get a D90 body instead? The IQ easily beats a D200, and should get you to at least ISO 1600. If there are features of the D200 you just can't live without, maybe you could find a way to wrangle a D300/300s. In any case, I'd wait a week for the PMA show...maybe Nikon has something else up their sleeve.
    $2k for a lens to gain 2 stops (vs f/2.8) seems like diminished returns. OTOH, having a 36mm equivalent that can go to f/1.4 could be fun - 35mm was my favorite 'urban street' lens w/35mm film. Even if the IQ isn't earth-shattering with FX, DX will likely crop out any flaws at the corners and edges. History shows us that lens ought to at least hold its value.
  13. Yep, the D700 does make a change in your life. I did have the D200 and in the end hated it for even iso 800 being sometimes useless. I now have the D700 and I'm even happy with the outcome of iso 3200 shots.
    Yes, save the money you wanted to spend on a lens and go for the body. That lens is overpriced anyhow as it is. Nice to have 1.4 at 24mm, but at what cost? Try the Sigmas..
  14. I thought the D700 would make a change in my life, but I was wrong. There are so many things about the D700 that could be better. Viewfinder now 100% is the biggie for me. I expect that in a pro camera. Also image sharpness is a little poor, better on the D300, which also has a better viewfinder. Sure high ISO is great on the D700, but unless you need that or a super-wide lens like the Nikon 14-24, the D700 isn't all that great. I'd buy the lens.
  15. I would go with the d700. The viewfinder and depth of field alone make it worth it. Rent one for a weekend before you decide.
  16. sounds like you dont have the glass to go FX just yet. also, i'm not sure $200+ for the difference between 1.8 and 1.4 is worth it. so my answer would be, neither. get a d90 as has been suggested with a sigma 30/1.4 or a used/refurb d300.
  17. I would go with a flash or the Sigma 30mm f1.4 or a D300. The 24mm f1.4 is pretty special with a special price for special shots. I went from a D200 which was great except ISO above 400. Now I have a D700 which meets more than my needs but I plan the keep this body a long time. I did change many lenses even though I had mostly FX type lenses when using the D200.
  18. So many choices.... I was planning to get a D90 or D300 a few months ago, but I knew that I also wanted a fast-ish
    24mm-equivalent lens. When I looked at the choices for 16mm, I decided to get a D700 to use with a cheap tiny 24mm
    f/2.4 lens. The combination has turned out to be delightful.
  19. Thanks everyone for the thoughtful, and highly varied, responses. To clarify my post, my interest in these two options (D700/24 1.4) is based on a desire to focus on low-light photography sans flash or tripod (i.e. street/urban/interior, etc). Those tools have their place, but not in what I have in mind right now.
    Peter K: What lens(es) would you use on the D700 were you to get it? A: at 35mm, the old Nikon 28-70 3.3-4.6.
    Lily W: It's also somewhat telling to read that you'd find it acceptable on either DX or FX format as most would consider the angle of view to be vastly different and either meeting a specific requirement or being way off the mark.
    Very true, 35mm equivalent (DX) versus 24mm (FX) is a big difference, but as a tool for low light photography they both have all kinds of potential.
  20. Andrew, the 35 1.8 and 24 1.4 are two fairly different lenses. The fact that the 24 is more of a wide angle lens (obviously when using it in FX, it would be far wider than the 35 on DX: as it would be normal vs. wide) and it's a top of the line, brand new FX lens make it very expensive. The 24 should be a excellent lens, but using it on a D200 wouldn't be the most cost effective thing to do, and you won't be getting the most out of it (good image quality made to cover the entire FX frame).
    It could be a good idea for you to get a D90, or a D300/D300s if you need the pro-grade build quality and controls. The D700 is a good choice too, as it would be quite a step up from the D200. But that will only be a feasible solution when you got the lenses worked out; and you got the budget for it.
  21. I know this isn't directly relevant to the question at hand, but I can't keep quiet. It bothers me when people say the move to a D700 requires several thousands of dollars in lens investments. Not true. I use several AI-S primes with my D700, all of which I got used. The results are fantastic. In fact, I don't want anything newer, because I take them backpacking and I wouldn't want to give up the uniform 52mm filter ring, depth of field markings and small size and weight.
    What people should say is this: depending on what you shoot, the D700 may require several thousand dollars in lens investments.
  22. There can be some real problems using the old film era lenses on a digital camera. For me, they just didn't work. Briefly, I had problems with CA, flare, and the color just wasn't that vibrant. I won't consider using them on a D700, for my purposes. OP hasn't given us much to go on, but generally speaking could get 2 to 2.5 more stops from a D700 and f2.8 lenses than what D200 gives. A used D300 can shoot at ISO 800 well and ISO 1600 reasonably well. That might be the best compromise, along with a Sigma 30mm f1.4 or Sigma 50mm f1.4.
    Kent in SD
  23. To clarify my post, my interest in these two options (D700/24 1.4) is based on a desire to focus on low-light photography sans flash or tripod (i.e. street/urban/interior, etc).​
    Given this requirement might I suggest the new 16-35 f/4 with VR?
  24. OPK


    D700 is way much heavier than D200. if that won't scare you then go for it. it would works perfectly even with regular primes. low light shooting capapility scales up to 6400 without loss in IQ.
  25. While the 24mm/1.4 may be a fantastic lens, and indeed investment in lenses makes more sense than investment in cameras, there is a slight problem with your approach. The 24mm lens will become a 36mm one on your D200. So what you are looking at is a relatively very expensive 35mm lens. And the gain, compared to your 35mm/1.8 lens is only what? 1/2 stop?
    On the other hand if you do get a D700 (I have it and I love it), you will need to invest in FX lenses, and believe me they are way more expensive than the DX ones. When I moved over to the FX side of things (just because I didn't want to have two lens sets, on for DX the other one for film cameras), I got myself some lenses which I consider good for my photography type, but would make most pros stare with disbelief. I currently own and use the following lenses with the D700:
    - Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D
    - Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 AF-D
    - Nikon 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G AF-S
    The reason behind the two first lenses (vs the newer 17-35mm or 24-70mm, although I would like to find an 28-70mm/2.8) is because I also use them with my Nikon F2A (and the F5), on which the aperture ring is necessary. I also own several prime Nikkors 16mm/3.5, 24mm/2.8, 28mm/2.8, 35mm/2, 50mm/1.4 (in AF and AI versions etc) which are of course usable on all my cameras. The 35mm and the 50mm ones are the ones I use in low light, but with the D700 low light shooting is an entirely different story.
    So, by smartly choosing your lenses, you can avoid spending a fortune for the latest Nikon f/2.8 extra-expensive ones and still get excellent pictures. It all depends on your requirements.
  26. While I very much like that Nikon now makes a fast wide angle with SWM & current optics, I think at that price the fast 24 is a special-purpose lens for those who specifically need it e.g. for wedding photography, low light environmental portraits etc. I think the D700 or another FX body should come much earlier than you decide to commit such a large amount of money to a single wide angle prime. I think you will get more benefits from the D700 than this one lens.
    There are many older lenses that were originally designed for film but which perform excellently on FX digital. I think it's not more expensive to build a workable FX lens setup than DX unless you specifically work with superteles. DX and older lenses work less well together since 1) the lenses are optimized for a larger area, so the center performance is somewhat compromised by the lens needing to cover DX, 2) because of the higher enlargement factor required when making prints from DX captures, slight focusing errors become large focusing errors in the print; FX is more forgiving in this respect, 3) the focal lengths are a better match for use with FX since that's the size they were intended for. The only group of lenses that FX has problems with is older superwides (shorter than 24/28mm); these should be avoided. Anything from 28mm on up typically performs better on FX than they did on 35mm film. I use some of the recent FX lenses as well as several older ones; it is not always the most recent lens that performs best for a given purpose. In fact it is often the case that in trying to appeal to broader audiences and to provide convenience into shooting as opposed to quality, compromises have been made. The one area where significant progress has been made is in the f/2.8 zooms, but even then there are specific problems in the most recent lenses such as excessive contrast in general (leading to requirement of soft lighting for a pleasing portrait) and softness at long distances (this affects especially 24-70 but also 70-200 Mk II). You just need to test different lenses for your specific applications and not believe wild generalizations such as film lenses don't work well on digital or some such nonsense.
  27. While the out-of-the-camera higher ISO images from the D200 are less than optimal, advances in software in recent times make it possible to get great results from the D200 with ISOs as high 1600 if you shoot RAW. Current software technology can transform noisy ISO 1600 images into shots that look like they were shot at ISO 400 or lower.
    But if your money is burning a hole in your pocket, I would go with the D700 and an affordable 24mm or similar alternative before laying out the megabucks for the 24mm lens.
  28. I have a D200 and a D700. If you believe that in the change you just get better high ISO, you are wrong. In y experience:
    • you get MUCH better high iso. 2 stops, roughly, but even when the noise looks similar, color saturation and detail retention is better on the D700.
    • At any ISO, you get noticeably better DR. As per DXOmark, the D700 has at 800 ISO more or less the DR of the D200 at 100 ISO.
    • you get always better color separation.
    • you get always much better shadow detail.
    • most (FX) lenses behave better on the D700, especially fast primes, due to the lower pixel density: in fact, LoCA and purple fringing are much less visible.
    Images from the D700 are simply better, easier to postproduce, more resilient to exposure errors, have better colors and appear "smoother", if you get my meaning. The difference IS significant, always, not only at high iso, not only in low light.
    Now, mind you, I love my D200, it is quite competent, but the jump I got from the D700 is pretty visible. And I'm not even citing how much better the AF is, especially in low light and with fast lenses. I guess that also the mantra of "lenses over body", as any commonplace statement, is true most of the times, but not always. In this case you are comparing upgrading to a specialty lens, which after all gives you less than 1 stop advantage at one focal length, versus upgrading to a camera bo that gives you 2 stops advantage ALWAYS, plus bonuses at all ISO values.
    And besides this, here in Germany the D700 body only is actually less expensive than the indicated price of the 24 1.4, and it is going to go down more in the next months. This is of course assuming that you already have lenses which work on FX: if you rely significantly on DX lenses now, then the total cost of the FX solution goes up.
  29. If you buy the 24mm/1.4 AF-S to use it on a DX body, you would find it hard to truly enjoy the full extent of what this lens can do on an FX body.
    If you buy a D700, may I ask you how many FX wide-angle lenses you have to take advantage of the D700?
    I think the mutually exclusive options in your question do not give you much advantage.
  30. I would get the D700, and then put a 35/2 on it. That would get you to you goal better than the 24/1.4 on a DX body. IMHO.
  31. Dan beat me to it, but a D700 and any moderately fast, moderately wide lens will probably trump d200+24mm 1.4 for the same money, both in terms of low-light IQ and subject isolation.
  32. <p>I have used a D200 with a 24mm PC lens and the results are excellent. It's main use is architecture but it is also suitable for landscapes of various sorts. The 24mm is 36mm on a D200 so it is a modest wide angle.<br>
    Recently, I bought a used Nikon F5 from Ffordes of Inverness for about £300 and the combination is excellent. The F5 is full frame but film which I still use.
  33. Buy the D700 and use the AFS 35/1.8 lens on it (as a 35mm focal length lens, i.e. FX, not in DX crop mode) until you can save up the funds for more FX lenses. I know the 35/1.8 is DX but it can be used on FX. There will be severe corner vignetting of course but by f/4, it is pretty much easily fixable by the D700's vignetting-correction menu option, or in post-processing. I know it sounds counterintuitive to use a f/1.8 lens at f/4 when you need its low-light capability, but as you know, the D700's high ISO cleanliness more than makes up for it compared to the D200.

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