Just curious - is there demand for DX primes?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Dieter Schaefer, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. I'm mixed on this.

    I too use DX as a back-up, but mostly only because I only have one full frame DSLR(two if I count the Kodak, but I don't :) ).

    I bought the 35mm 1.8 after I'd bought my D800, but I still consider it an outstanding lens and a no-brainer at $200 for anyone who shoots DX. It's one of three lenses in my DX "kit"-the 12-24 and 18-200(first gen) are the other two. I realize both of these are dated lenses and are bettered by more modern designs, but the 12-24 was a LOT less expensive than the 10-24, and the 18-200 is probably only bettered in terms of convenience by the 18-300.

    I would love to see a compact wide-angle prime. From reading between the lines of history, the 14mm 2.8 came out about the time APS-C cameras really took off(I think it dates to 2000 or 2001), and it's not hard to make the leap that it was as much so that folks could have a reasonably wide-angle prime for APS-C cameras. Still, it's a beast of a lens, is not inexpensive, now is showing its age on super high res sensors. Something like a DX 16mm 2.8(or even f/4 to keep weight and cost down) to me would be welcome and I'd at least give some consideration to buying it-albeit it would need to be very small and light since I have that focal length covered both for FX and DX.
  2. I'm basing my comments here on what I've been reading on other gear-oriented sites. A majority of Nikon DX system buyers tend to be low end consumers who will likely never take the basic kit lens off. So there's not much of a specialized DX lens market for them. More serious DX shooters tend to move up to FF. The remaining (DX) D7_ _ _ and D500 users might benefit just as much from FF compatible lenses so that they don't have to eventually undergo a complete system change when they move up to FF. The hole left in Nikon's DX line is mostly a lack of DX-specific wide angle and ultra wide angle zooms and primes. These would be expensive to design and produce. The numbers just wouldn't be there to make it profitable. Talk on other gear-oriented sites is that mirrorless FF is the coming tide. If Nikon and Canon want to get on board, that's where you can expect to see new lens designs go. Consumer DX is still very popular and profitable for Nikon, but maybe not in the long term when people will find more compact advanced mirrorless cameras with FF sensors from other manufacturers, with Sony already in the lead. A market for pros in Nikon FF DSLRs will remain, according to the gurus I've seen quoted.
  3. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Plenty of them move to DX-format mirrorless cameras.
    Dieter Schaefer likes this.
  4. Tamron 15-30 - the exact full frame equivalent - pricier, heavier, larger, and faster. Just sayin' :)

    A lower-end DX camera as a backup appeared desirable to me at some point too - I got a D60 and used it mostly with the 35/1.8. Still too big to be considered pocketable. I eventually sold it and got a Ricoh GR (APS-C sensor, fixed 18mm lens). Comes in handy once in a while but I am not using it nearly as much as I thought I would.

    I use the word "backup" above - but it strikes me as not the correct term; "casual use" seems more appropriate. To be a true backup, the camera needs to be as capable as the primary one, not some lower-end one with lots of compromises.
  5. Agreed - not 'back up' per se, but rather casual use, but also for a specific use. I bought a D500 specifically for use with my 200-500mm, after which I started to acquire DX lenses for casual use (10-20mm, 18-140mm and 35/1.8). I would not be surprised at all if other D500 owners took the same path as I did towards buying DX lenses for casual use.
  6. I am a DX shooter and unlikely to move to FX based on size and weight. My current main lenses are Tokina 12-24, Nikon 16-85VR, Nikon 70-300VR, and Nikon 35/1.8. I would be happy to replace the zooms in my regular kit with a 16mm, 35mm, 70mm, and 135mm. That would replicate the focal lengths I carried with my film kit (24, 50, 105, 200).
  7. "I would not be surprised at all if other D500 owners took the same path as I did towards buying DX lenses for casual use".
    Yes I did..with one small difference : not for D500 but for Fuji X-t2. And why should I didn't do it ? For the price of D850 body ($ 4455 in my country)
    I bought myself an entire wonderful Fuji system : Xt2 body+50-140/2,8+16/1,4+50/2+23/1,4 and regain the joy of taking pictures.
    And make no mistake : the Fujinon lenses are at least equal to Nikon lenses and the DX sensor present in X-T2 never cease to amaze me.
    Below are two identical pictures taken with D4s and Xt2 at ISO 6400 : (notice the AutoWB) n.jpg f.jpg
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  8. Me too on the first part, I just decided to skip the second - no more DX lenses for me at this point. Just had my first chance on getting a reasonably priced used 16-80/2.8-4 DX lens (in all likelihood a split from a kit given the lens appearance) - and I passed it up! A D500 is now in my bag for "reach" and for speed - but FX lenses only.

    If I was still using DX lenses, I would do what Mike Halliwell did - get the 18-35/1.8 and 50-100/1.8 Sigma and either (or both) the Tokina 11-20/2.8 and/or Tokina 14-20/2. All large and heavy - but so would a bag of primes covering the same focal length range and at similar apertures be - in particular if they wanted to match those zooms' performances.

    I don't think we will see much (if anything) new on the DX DSLR lens front (prime or zoom) - what will come, will be mirrorless (a few lenses at introduction and hopefully a roadmap as to the near future). The D3xxx and D5xxx lines will vanish, and eventually the D7xxx too - replaced by a set of DX mirrorless (like Sony A6000, A6300, A6500). It can only be hoped that Nikon will not repeat past mistakes and will attempt a "complete" DX lens line-up including primes. I think one of the troubles is that people may want every FX-equivalent focal length: 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 24 (and probably some in between); that's a lot of lenses to produce!

    By the same token - but likely offset in time a bit - the D6xx FX line will vanish (if it hasn't already) and mirrorless will take a hold there too, moving upwards in the hierarchy of models. I very much doubt that Nikon has the stamina to maintain a full DSLR line-up while creating two lines of mirrorless. Not even Sony manages to do that (their APS-C progress seems to have stagnated and their A-mount "DSLR" is likely to keel over at any given moment.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
  9. I think it depends on who the target market is. Someone who just carries a camera around and uses it for family photos and still has three Christmas days on the same card. My Dad shot well over a thousand slides with a single Agfa Sillette camera and it did all he wanted. Today my nieces have Dx cameras with something like an 18-55 consumer zoom and they do all they need. One of them uses her phone for most things and is quite good. The Dxxxx cameras and phone cameras are the Instamatics of today. Most users want one lens to do everything so I doubt there is much market for Dx prime lenses. I've only ever had one Dx anything lens in all this time, my bag carries lenses that work fine on Dx, Fx, film, whatever I am shooting. Carrying lenses that only work on some of the camera bodies seems a waste to me.

    Rick H.
  10. I don’t think having a dense range of primes or them having specific focal lengths is at all relevant, but there should be 1-2 wide angle primes (which specific focal length they are is not important as people can fine tune composition by cropping). 1.5-1.6x DSLRs are by far the most widely used interchangeable lens cameras and they should have the lens lines to support them, but they don’t. I don’t think their popularity is just by chance; the thing is that for the vast majority of people the quality is sufficient and anything more is an extravagance similar to talking about differences in materials in audio cables: they don’t see the difference and don’t care. But I maintain available light indoor photography is important to many and it’s a shame the manufacturers don’t properly cover it for DX (apart from Fuji and Pentax). The Sigma 18-35/1.8 is a good lens but large and heavy compared to primes (even FX 20/1.8).

    Reading gear forums doesn’t give an accurate picture of what the market is like. Most people don’t talk about gear online: they spend their time living their lives and get those shots they need to get, without thinking about the gear.

    IMO full frame mirrorless is far too expensive and lacking in telephoto lenses to inherit the users of DX DSLRs (for the family snaps too expensive, for the wildlife user the lenses are largely missing). FX DSLRs didn’t inherit most DX users either.
  11. I think Ilkka is on the right track. A consumer primes line would be desirable, even for Nikon DX. - Looking around I guess bread & butter glass like the FX f1.8 trinity would be desirable. Unfortunately the pain point might be about 200 Euro/US$ per lens? - A Canon 24/2.8 pancake is 150 €/$ and the popular Sigmas for Sony sell in a similar range.
    I'm not sure how modern folks mix & match systems. - I understand some pick Canon because Fuji is more expensive? But where to go from a DX 2 zooms or super zoom kit? - Bulky Sigma "primes with wiggle room"? Or integrating Fuji? - At least to me multiple good enough bodies seem more tempting than a heavy bag full of glass with a single D500 and I see little need to own a 3rd or 2nd D500 to hold a 14 mm.
  12. I think Nikon should have licensed with one, two, or even all three major third-party lens manufacturers and have them provide the missing DX primes. Simply economy of scale - producing for a couple of different camera mounts means higher production number and overall lower costs than producing for niche lenses for one mount only. I believe that at least one of the reasons we didn't get DX primes was that Nikon didn't have (and still doesn't have) the capacity to design and produce them.
    Fairly certain that camera makers want you to upgrade within their system - to a better DX body, and better lenses (if they only were available) and on to FX. Reality I have seen is that people come in the store, wanting to upgrade from an older consumer-grade body (+ kit lenses) to something "better". At least some have no brand loyalty at all - they pick whatever is on sale that day, or what the sales person pushes onto them, or what their favorite internet guru or relative or friend told them to. So a still perfectly capable Nikon D3200 with two lens kit gets discarded/traded for a new shiny Rebel T6i with two kit lenses. Or some equivalent mirrorless. It really is too bad that numbers can't be had to find out how many users never truly get out of the "consumer-grade" realm either within the same brand or different brands. I doubt any of these will ever consider a prime lens; I just have no idea how big their number actually is.
    Hmmh, good glass stays, bodies come and go. I see a lot of value of having a D810 and a D500 in the bag - for the simple reason that there are no "good enough" alternatives. And for probably the first time I am seriously about mixing brands in my bag. Got to it by accident but it is a bit liberating to be able to pick and choose and not be tied to one brand only.

    I also think that for a majority of "serious" "enthusiasts" primes are not really needed or maybe all that's needed - it just depends on what they are "enthusiastic" about. I could do the majority of my general/travel/landscape photography with three or four zooms and never miss primes or shots. If I shifted my focus to some other area - then those three, four zooms would be utterly useless and primes would rule. Or another, faster set of zooms. I can't say if I would purchase a DX prime lens if Nikon were to produce one of a desirable focal length; price and performance would certainly play a role in the decision.
  13. I shoot DX, a D7200.
    I do lust after a FX camera, currentlyl drooling over a D750.
    BUT, at my age, weight is a significant consideration, which it wasn't when I was in college. So a HEAVY FX camera and lens becomes a physical problem for me.

    I compared the DX D7200 + 18-140 to the FX D750 + 24-120. The D750 kit was 33% heavier. That might be OK for a short shoot, but shoot something that goes over an hour (like a soccer game), and that 33% weight difference makes a difference. And I really do not like the idea of shooting a camera on a monopod. Maybe for a heavy long lens, but not for the standard lens.

    And while I would really love the 70-200 f/2.8, that lens is too heavy for me. The 70-200 f/4 is about HALF the weight of the f/2.8 lens. So I will likely get the f/4 lens. Though I wish there was an even smaller and lighter DX version.

    So the DX D7200 and its successors will be as far up as I would likely go.
    In fact, I am looking at the even lighter and smaller D3400 + 18-55 to use as the camera, for parties and casual events.
    I learned before, the camera that get used, gets the pix. The EXPENSIVE HIGH END camera that sits in the case, is worth very little if it does not get use.

    But back to DX primes.
    If I could get a 135mm f/2.8 prime, it would be a lot more usable to me for sports, than my 18-140 which is f/5.6 at the same 135mm focal length. That is a TWO stop difference in speed. And it makes a difference when shooting at night or indoors. I would not have to crank up the ISO to 12800 or 25600, with its associated loss of image quality at those high ISO levels.
    As it was 40 years ago, primes still have a value, one of which is speed.
  14. You could try to find a used Sigma 150/2.8 APO EX HSM macro DG; the non-OS version that pre-dates the current OS version. It weighs a bit more than the 70-200/4 - but the tripod collar is completely removable and without it, the weight should be about the same (the current OS version is substantially heavier). I owned the non-OS, traded it for the OS version; both are very fine lenses. Another option would be the older version (non-OS) of the Sigma 50-150/2.8 EX DC HSM - weight is about the same as the 70-200/4. Again, the newer (but AFAIK also discontinued) 50-150 OS used the same barrel as the FX 70-200 and gained a lot of weight and size over the previous non-OS version.
  15. Gary, the Nikon 135mm f/2.0 DC lens weighs less than the 70-200mm f/4 zoom. The 70-200 f/4 is sharper and focuses faster (the screw drive 135mm, with a lot of glass, isn't one of the faster focusing lenses) but you might want to consider the 135mm for action in low light. I bought mine used for about $800, if memory serves.

    BTW, the D750 is only about 75 grams, or about 2 ounces, more than the D7200.
  16. Hector,
    You are correct about the weight of the D750. I just checked the NikonUSA site. 750g is a lot lighter than the 850g that I have in my chart.
    So where did I get my incorrect higher number???

    hmmm. so maybe the D750 is a doable camera now, at 11% heavier than the D7200. :)
    But with the D750 + 24-120/4 lens vs the DX D7200 + 18-140 lens, the FX kit is 295g/10.4oz or 25% heavier. That is less than the 33% heavier that I had with the incorrect weight for the D750, but 25% is still a significant weight difference. :(
    Now I need to add a 295g weight to my D7200 kit and carry it around, to see if I can handle the extra weight for a 1hr+ shooting session.

    Thanks for the tip on the Sigma DX 50-150/2.8. That is equivalent to a 75-225 on a FX body. I like it :D
    A Nikon equivalent DX 50-150 f/2.8 VR is just what the doctor ordered. Now if Nikon would only make it. Not likely :(
    At my age, I made the decision that I should buy VR lenses. I'm not as steady as I used to be, and that will only get worse as I get older. :( So I have to look at the heavier OS version of the 50-150.

    decisions decisions :(
  17. I'd say the 135 f/2 is still a big, chunky lens. Which is fine (or would be if I didn't hate the optics of mine shot faster than f/4), but the f/2.8 AI is relatively tiny. My "wander around" bag for my D700 was the 28-200G in a toploader, a 50mm AF-D in a little pouch that belonged to a Sigma teleconverter tied to the strap, and the 135mm in the external pocket in case of emergency portraits. These days, with higher demand for optical quality, I'm less flexible (and try to make do with a larger 24-70 Tamron or the 24-120).

    A modern, light, 135 f/2.8 would have some appeal - although it's long enough that I don't think it needs to be DX.

    Do we actually have attachment rates for the low-end DX bodies? Obviously the lens aren't there, but I'm not sure people are buying the FX equivalents - I assume they just don't buy many lenses. The D7x00 and D500 might be different, but I don't know how many are out there and how many users plan an FX upgrade.

    I've maintained for a while that Nikon should just differentiate by making a completely cut down D6x0 successor (no screwdriver AF, no aperture ring, pentamirror) that could be had for D7x00 money, to get people on the upgrade path. They might need a cheaper kit lens than the 24-120 to do it, though. I suspect mirrorless will happen first, but if not, I told you so!

    Sony has a relatively complete crop lens set (I believe) with a full frame upgrade path. What happens there? Do people stay with A6500s or buy an A7?
  18. Gary: Good luck, but in my experience "heavy camera" varies with practice. My 70-200 feels heavy sometimes, but then I use my 200/2 for a bit, and even the 200-500 feels like a kit lens after. I'd probably still have back ache, but I wouldn't complain about it. :) (It helps that I'm transporting a lot of unnecessary weight even when I'm not carrying anything.)
  19. A high quality viewfinder and good compatibility with older lenses are some of the key advantages of FX DSLRs. The lens compatibility is particularly vital for users of the D610 because they are on a budget and typically knowledgeable but budget-limited FX people buy older lenses second hand. Many of the lenses are manual focus so the viewfinder has to be as crisp as possible. The pentamirror viewfinder in my opinion is the closest equivalent to a crime against humanity. At least my eyes are strained trying to see detail and are trying to focus on an image which isn't quite clear (e.g. D3100). I have to say that the D850 and D5 viewfinders are heaven compared to that. And actually the D750 and D610 viewfinders are very good as well, though not quite as evenly lit or well coated. In fact what I'd like is to see the excellent Df or D850 viewfinder put into the D610's successor; removal of the pop-up flash would be possible by including compatibility with Nikon's radio AWL flash system. No pop-up flash => no vignetting in the viewfinder, better viewfinder optics, and better compatibility with PC 24. And if Nikon add interchangeable focusing screens, manual lens users can be even happier.

    Since D600's can be had on the used market (with free shutter replacements) for around 700€ it's difficult to see how a stripped down successor could find a market. The only way to proceed is to improve it significantly and keep the launch price fair.

    Sony's APS-C market share is quite small AFAIK (compared to Nikon or Canon). Their full frame mirrorless is the hit product.
  20. Andrew
    I have a bit of weight to "offload" as well. And the holidays will make it go the wrong way. ;)

    As a 'senior citizen' with a bad back, there are weight limits to what I can haul about and hold.
    And I prefer to stay off the strong pain killers.
    I would have to shoot the 200-500 off a rest or gimbal+tripod.

    I may have to use a monopod one day, but when I tried it, it really cramped my style of shooting. I prefer to move/swing the camera like shooting a shotgun, rather than pivoting my body around the monopod. Being right next to the sidelines, the action moves laterally quite a bit more, than being in the stands.

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