Digital upgrade path

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by schristian|1, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. I purchased a D70 when they first came out and am considering upgrading. Is the new FX format the wave of the future and is it worth the extra cost? I am considering either the D300 or the D700. I understand that the D700 will use my DX lenses, but will just crop as my D70 does. Any and all suggestions are welcome.
  2. If you don't know you need FX, you probably don't... You'll probably be insanely happy with a D300 and DX lenses.
  3. Scott,
    I used a D70 before upgrading to a D300. I am very happy with both.
    Whether you should buy a D700 vs. a D300, it all depends on what you are shooting. For me, the final desicion was between longer reach in sports photos (so I did not have to buy extra lenses) (D300) or the High ISO capabilities of the D700.
    Being a cheapskate, I went with the D300, as I did not have that much use for the extra High ISO capabilities (>3200 ISO), and that I could use my other lenses I previously used on the D70.
    Whether the FX is the wave of the future? Only time will tell, but Nikon has sold so much DX cameras and lenses, so that they will not stop developing and manufacturing them over night.
  4. Remember that you make an investment in the lenses, and not in the cameras. Cameras come and go. Are you prepared to make an investment (or cash out if you are not a selling pro) in FX lenses. If not, I suggest you stay with the DX lenses, which really are not bad.
  5. Difficult to say. I agree with Peter above in general. Probably... I don't know how much your budget is either.
    Having said that, I did upgrade from D80 to D700 and quite happy with it. But be fore-warned that you will want FX lenses and it will cost you far more $$$ (can be substantially retrieved when you sell them, though). But I can't say whether I would NOT be happy with D300 because I never tried that path.
    So, it really depends how badly you need/want to upgrade and how much "fund" you can commit to the FX path. Good luck and enjoy.
  6. I also use a Mamiya RZ-67 MF and was contemplating a digital back for it, but the prices are more than a New D700. I have read that the new FX format gives you images close to the quality of MF even though the format is smaller. This is primarily the reason I was looking at the FX format.
  7. If you don't have a specific reasoning for the D700 you probably don't need it. Don't assume you're going to need FX eventually because DX will disappear, because all indications are that's not true as Nikon continues to announce new DX cameras and lenses.
    BTW if you like the D70 but want the newest technology, what you want is a D90.
  8. Keep in mind that DX lens on a D700 not only crop as your D70 does, it also drops from 12 to 5 Megapixel. I can't imagine why you would want to buy a near $3000 camera to shoot 5 megapixels given that a D300 has essentially the same capabiliities.
  9. budget and future plans. If your familar with the DX format, and set up with a DX lens or 2, theres no reason to go FX. The D90 and D300 are excellent cameras. If Upgrade is your sole reason for getting a new camera then go for the D300, it has the more advanced features.
    If you have a lot of prime lenes like me both manual and auto focus, an FX body is not a bad idea if you can afford it get a D700.
  10. >> "Is the new FX format the wave of the future and is it worth the extra cost?"
    The FX format allows superior performance for certain things, but the DX format still has lots of potential and is perfectly good for almost everything. In the future both formats will probably exist side by side.
    >> "I understand that the D700 will use my DX lenses, but will just crop as my D70 does."
    Using DX lenses on a D700 is not exactly the best thing to do. You'll end up cropping the images. DX lenses obviously work better on DX bodies than on FX bodies set in DX crop mode.
    If you're heavily invested in DX glasses, and don't need the best available high ISO performance, you should be fine sticking with DX bodies. The D300 is a good pro-grade choice. But do also look at the D90 as a lower cost alternative; the "upcoming" D300 could also be a feasible choice like the original D300, with a few extra features.
  11. Some people say that photographers that shoot a lot of landscapes are better with the FX as the wide angle is more friendly. They also say that the DX is more friendly for telephoto use. I think a hobbyist can shoot a D60, D5000, D90 and be set up nicely.
  12. If I were shooting landscape, I would want a D700. It has a look unlike any DX body. However, the D300 is also a brilliant camera, and I would consider it the upgrade to get from the D70.
  13. I have both the D300 and the D700. The D300 is an awesome camera and if you already have DX lenses that may be the preferred upgrade path for a budget. Especially if you don't use the gear to make money. I shoot my D700 probably 99.8% of the time but I just can't seem to sell the D300. Also if you tend to shoot longer telephoto the D300 crop factor will help you there. The lenses are really the biggest part of the investment so it bears thinking about your longer-term direction since if you acquire a lot of DX format lenses it will not be too cost-effective to switch over if you ever wanted to consider that.
    There is nothing wrong with the D300 as long as you are prepared to use flash when necessary since the iso capability is somewhat less than the full frame. The D300 will enable making great photos and depending on intended usage may actually be better. Having said that, I would definitely go for a D700 if I had to make the choice again. I tend to shoot a lot of wide-angle and low-light situations so the D700 is awesome for that. The decision really depends on the lenses and the budget (if not a pro photographer).
  14. If you have a lot of money invested in DX lenses then I would go for the D300. The D300 is a great camera and would be a significant improvement over the D70. If you only have a few cheap DX lenses and don't mind selling them, the D700 is an amazing camera. I went from the D200 to the D700 and can see a significant difference in image quality. If you shoot a lot of things like sports, the crop sensor of the D300 would give you extra reach from your long lenses. If you shoot more landscapes and portraits, the D700 is incredible. The high ISO performance of the D700 is unlike any camera I've used. ISO 1600 is not only usable it's actually looks good. From that aspect indoor sports would be great with the D700. You can't lose either way you go, it just depends on which will meet your needs better. Keep in mind that the D300 will likely be upgraded in the fall, so it might be beneficial to wait. Even if you decide to go with the D300 it will be even cheaper then.
  15. When Nikon introduced their DX cameras, I scoffed and thought I'd never buy a sub-size camera.
    I was wrong...
    I agree with the post above that says if you don't already know you need it, you don't. The D300 is an extremely capable camera and the DX sensor actually offers several advantages relative to the D700 (such as pixel density, AF field coverage). Pixel peeping isn't really much of a "proof" of the camera as a photographic tool. The only reason I might go with a D700 would be high ISO situations and even in that case there's room for discussion.
  16. The D90 or D5000 would be excellent upgrades from a D70. Unless you need the D300's weather sealing and mirror lockup, save money (and weight) with a less expensive body and invest in a nice new lens like the 16-85 or the 10-24.
    The D700 is in an entirely different league, but you'll pay to get into that league because you're going to have to buy at least one high quality lens (24-70, 17-35, or 14-24) in order to get the most out of the FX sensor.
  17. The only advantage that DX has over full-frame is when using telephoto lenses. This "Pixel density" business is a complete urban myth. 12 megapixels across the FX format actually gives as much, if not more, detail and resolution as 12 megapixels on the DX format - as long as the lens angle-of-view remains the same on both formats. Of course the pixels are closer together on DX, they're also smaller, less sensitive and noisier! And to make the most of the higher pixel density you would also need lenses that have 1.5 times the resolution of an equivalent lens on Full-frame.
    Think about it. If pixel density as such was any indicator of image quality, then why would professionals spend thousands on Medium format backs over full-frame SLRs, and why would there be a market for full-frame bodies at all? The answer is higher image quality, and pixel density has almost nothing to do with it.
  18. It really comes down to what you shoot & what you're in need of. Also - what lenses you have.
    In the long run I consider using DX lenses a waste of time on the D700 - yes it can be done but why would you? You're losing a lot of sensor space & pixels in the long run.
    Main thing here is - do you need reach or do you need low light. If you need low light - then the D700 is the way to go.
    Lil :)
  19. I really loved my D700, however ultimately I decided to sell it because I just don't need that much camera. I also missed the 16-85mm VR zoom lens a bunch. FX lenses are naturally bigger and heavier than their DX counterparts, and the sheer size of a D700 with a large FX zoom was too much for me. The D300 with the 16-85 is about the best solution for me, and it's still as large as I'd ever want. I agree the D90 would be the logical upgrade from the D70, the D300 might be more than you need. And weight-wise, the D90 is about comparable to the D70 as well. I need to be able to use my manual focus primes so I got the D300 and never looked back.
  20. Scott.... What is your budget, and what's in your lens bag?
  21. Full frame is the way to go, but I am not happy with the position of "affordable" Nikon FX cameras in the overall marketplace. Canon is much better positioned, since they have been at it for much longer. I am referring to how the D700 and D3 are positioned against a used 5D, new 5D II, and used 1DsII. Give Nikon another two years to hone their price/performance relationship.
    If you desire an upgrade now the D300 is an excellent choice, and very well positioned in the marketplace.
  22. I'd have stayed with DX if I was able to shoot at lower ISO's. That's not the situation for me - I shoot a lot of indoor sports, so I coughed up the money for a D700. For predominantly outdoor and flash photography, I'd recommend the D300.
  23. I shoot with a D 300 (and a D 200.) A lot of my D 300 shots are with long lenses and I have used high ISOs like 1600-3200 mainly to get higher shutter speeds to stop action like for bird photography. The image quality is supurb. I have no problems making large high quality prints from the files whether the lenses were FX or DX on the D 300. You can use FX or DX lenses on the D 300. It makes no sense to me to use DX lenses on a D 700. And you can use older manual focus lenses on the D 300 and D 700 because these lenses will meter on these bodies.
    If you are not a long lens shooter (and have no need for the magnification factor in the D 300's sensor) and if you do not own many DX lenses, then the D 700 might make sense for you. But your investment in the D 700 has to be a system's investment inclusive of any new FX or older manual focus lenses to take advantage of the full frame sensor in the camera.
    The D 90 might be a consideration. It will not meter with the older manual focus lenses.
    I have a lot of older AF and manual focus Nikon prime lenses I could use on a D 700. However, I have found my D 300 and D 200 to be good enough for all of my landscape work so I have not purchased one. I just cannot justify its cost. But that is me.
    Joe Smith
  24. We all know that the D700 is superior to the D300 at high ISO's, but can anyone show a convincing example that the D700 beats the D300 at ISO 200 in terms of resolution and details?

    I can't detect any difference in the ISO 200 test images on Ken Rockwell's site, and on another site which shows side-by-side images (I can't remember the URL right now), I couldn't see any significant difference at 100% either. And the full-frame Canon 5DMk2 actually looked quite a bit worse on KR's site. Maybe someone could post a link to some better examples.
  25. Guido, If you are printing at 11 x 14 or lower, I'll bet just about anything you'll see no difference in properly exposed images from any of those cameras.
  26. Like you, my move to digital SLR was the D70s. I have had the D300 for over a year now (I love it -- the D70s sits in the bag or gets handed over to my fiance at times), and I recently acquired the D700. I just had to have that low light ability of the D700 (which I have wanted since I used ASA 32 Kodachrome many moons ago). And, I have some older MF Nikkor lenses that will fill the D700 sensor, along with some modern full frame lenses which I bought while shooting the D70s and D300. I bought the recent lenses in anticipation that there would be a full sensor size shift at some point. But, the truth is that because I have been shooting small birds a lot, and doing some long range landscapes across Lake Champlain, the crop sensor of the D300 has been my better friend. A 200mm plus a teleconverter on a D300 is 50% longer than on the D700. One long lens for the D700 can easily cost more than multiple D700's.
    So, I am not giving either camera back. For interior available light shots, the high ISO D700 is my baby. For reach, the D300 is going to be my gun for a long time.
    So, I suppose a question to ask yourself is what do you shoot or want to shoot and how much reach do you want? If it means putting super telephotos on a D700, consider that expense versus the 50% added reach of the D300 with the same number of pixels. If you are going to shoot available light at closer range, the speed and dynamic range of the D700 may be the path to go.
    Telling us what you do shoot or want to shoot might be helpful information for those who would reply to you.
  27. Scott, you mentioned using film medium format. FX by itself does not approach digital medium format image quality. D700 is "only" 12 megapixel. The FX Nikon that is compared to digital MF digital quality is the D3x, with 24 megapixels, not the D700. D3x also sells for $7,300 at B&H. Not a bargain unless compared to the cost of a MF digital back, which costs more than my parents' house did. I have not used the D3x, and not likely to for a long time. The reviews claim that it has a slight edge to the 24 megapixel SONY A900 at $2700, the claimed edge in image being higher noise at higher ISO's for the SONY and maybe an image processor that yields a somewhat different image for the NIKON.
  28. Correction. I meant to say that the Nikon Dx3 has the edge in better noise control and, some say, an edge in image quality.
  29. Scott....?
  30. I have the kit 18-70 mm DX, Micro 105mm 2.8 D, and 85mm 1.8 D. The D300 is pretty much at the top end of my budget.

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