Just curious - is there demand for DX primes?

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

  1. Color me confused: m4/3 is about 22mm (actually 21.6) on the long side and Nikon APS-C is about 23..6mm on the short side - how does that make them equivalent? The crop-factor for m4/3 from FX is 2, for APS-C (DX) it's 1.5 - that's a substantial difference. It's 225 square miillimeters area for m4/3 and 368 square millimeters for DX (and about 860 for FX).

    Do you think most would care? Or even notice?
    Are we even sure many would want one? It appears that some are happy to upgrade within the same class and won't even go to a D7x00.
    Quite pessimistic outlook (not that I have been overly optimistic in my musings). If Nikon can't beat the original A7 right out of the gate - then they should indeed pack up and abandon mirrorless right now. The A7II didn't move the bar that much (the A7RII did compared to the A7R and the A7RIII moved it substantially again on the A7RII), so Nikon definitely needs to aim for something past A7RII (even if the resolution stays at A7II level) with their lower-end offering. And then they need to aim A9-type high with their high end. But I think much more important will be the lens issue - and that's were production capacity comes into play; even doing a halfway complete set of 8 lenses for one format will be a monumental task; doubling that for two formats isn't going to happen. And, naturally, with confidence in Nikon as eroded as it appears to be, who would want to be first in line to buy their "first" mirrorless?

    Do you have the feeling Nikon ever had a plan B?

    Nikon sure does - but there is another side to that equation - and those may not be willing to pay for expensive FX glass.

    Nikon attempted to get people to upgrade to FX with the D600/D610 and from all I can see screwed that up royally; both with the camera and with the lack of reasonably-priced lenses. The D750 should have been their first offering to get people to upgrade to FX - together with convincing arguments why someone coming from D3x00 and D5x00 should skip the D7x00 and head over to a D750. And convincing arguments for those moving up from D7x00 - which might be slightly different but could be a bit of an easier sell. Above there are two examples (Gary, Ken) why someone may not want to upgrade to FX. Heck, even I did so reluctantly - and in hindsight with the wrong camera (the D700 offered one stop higher ISO than the D300 and a bit of an improvement in the viewfinder department - that's it).

    That seems to have been Nikon's plan all along - given the sparsity of anything decent in the DX lens department. Might have helped to offer a bit more of an entry-level FX lens set too. For years, Nikon has paid the least attention to the enthusiast level amateur that was using high-end DX and might have been willing to upgrade to FX had there been something like the D750. No high-end lenses for DX, no adequate camera and only so-so lower-end (and even mid-level) FX lenses. Nikon was certainly catering to the high-end FX crowd with both cameras and lenses. And to the low-end DX crowd with yet another 18-xxx.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2017
  2. You are right. Sensor size is not equivalent. Hwvr, I just checked the megapixels - and found that the Nikon D300 (which gave me countless excellent images - thank you Nikon) only has 12.3 megapixels. (While the Olympus EM1 II has 20MP !)

    My point is that good enough is good enough. A 100mp or mich larger sensor size would not transform anyone to a mega photographer. Let's not use it as a crutch. Thankfully, most of you folks are very good photographers. :)
    Spearhead likes this.
  3. "Color me confused: m4/3 is about 22mm (actually 21.6) on the long side and Nikon APS-C is about 23..6mm on the short side - "

    - Colour me even more confused.
    Aren't you confusing short sides with long sides and diagonals with long sides there Dieter?

    Let's forget diagonals. Nikon's DX format is 16 by 24 mm - close enough, and the M43 format is 13 by 17.3 mm. This means we're trying to compare different aspect ratios, which never ends well. But effectively the M43 format is (roughly) three-quarters the size of DX.

    The real issue with smaller formats is their effect on depth-of-field and range of 'useable' or useful aperture.

    On one hand a small sensor gives more magnification and more DoF - great for tele and macro work. OTOH the DoF isn't as shallow at a given aperture - not so great for portraits and subject isolation.

    Then diffraction kicks in at wider apertures as sensor size decreases, until it squeezes useful apertures into the f/8 and wider region. That's definitely too small for my liking.

    Anyhow. This all comes down to the 'right' sensor size being dependent on the job in hand. So I think there'll always be a place for a range of sensor sizes, and lenses to go with them.
  4. Nope - the point was that the long side of m4/3 sensor is about the same size as the short side of DX - so the sensor sizes definitely aren't "equivalent". I also gave the crop factors and sensor areas to illustrate the same point. And yes, I am aware of the different aspect ratios - but didn't want to muddy the waters even more by dragging that into the discussion. For the purpose of showing "non-equivalence" I felt it wasn't necessary.

    Way too much fuzz made about that - unlike in the Nikon DX world, in the m4/3 world lenses with f/1.2 or even f/0.95 apertures exist that allow shooting with the same DOF as f/1.4 primes.
    Doesn't it do that for high-MP FX sensors too? Aren't we warned to use apertures smaller than f/8 on a D810 (or similar)? Personally, I think f/11 is still perfectly usable in most situations that require one to stop down that far, and if required, I don't shy away from f/16 as well.
    Well I was trying to argue for a lighter FX body. :) The 24-120 f/4 is a surprisingly large lens, something I didn't discover until I eventually picked one up for myself. I was expecting something around the size of the 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6G, but it's nearly as big as my Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC. The variable aperture version is smaller (not quite as small as the 18-140), but unfortunately optically awful. The 24mm end of both is likely adding to the weight quite a bit - and the DX version would have to be more heavily retrofocal to do the same thing. The 28-200G (more the same focal range) is actually 130g lighter than the DX 18-140, and effectively faster because of the sensor size - but it's not really optically good enough for the latest sensors (though it's a "maybe" for the Df) and has no VR, so that's not really a fair comparison either. If Nikon made a new one with VR and better optics and kept it in the same weight range, I may well be tempted.

    I suspect your argument is tempting people to mirrorless (full frame or cropped).

    Would that work? Coverage is much easier to engineer with longer lenses. I don't know how much smaller or cheaper this would be than the FX version.

    And then Sigma discontinued it. I agree that it's a lens that a lot of people recommended for DX, I just don't know how to read Sigma's choice to stop making it. It seemed complementary rather than replaced by the 50-100 f/1.8, to me.

    Absolutely. Modern cameras are very good at high ISO, but this doesn't mean aperture (or a tripod) is no longer relevant - it just moves the bar.
  5. That's an argument for pixel density and strong tracking autofocus. The latter is (currently) more of a DSLR strength; the former is something the DSLR vendors could look at if they wanted to. Or they could make longer, slower lenses (see ebay), or teleconvert. I do use my GF2 on a Dobsonian, and (despite only having an elderly 12MP body) it still has more pixel density than a D850. But I could also point a compact down a viewfinder, or use a webcam.

    Lots of cameras have their place, I just choose to put my money on the category I can fit in a pocket, or the category with better low-light, dynamic range and subject separation. But it's all a continuum, and other choices are just as valid. I'd just claim that the nearer points are on the continuum, the more they compete.
  6. Nikon attempted to get people to upgrade to FX with the D600/D610 and from all I can see screwed that up royally; both with the camera and with the lack of reasonably-priced lenses.

    Nikon have put out quite many enthusiast-level FX lenses: 20/1.8, 24/1.8, 28/1.8, 35/1.8, 50/1.8, 50/1.4, 85/1.8, 18-35, 24-85, 70-200/4, 60/2.8, 200-500/5.6, and perhaps including 105/2.8 and 300/4. In the early digital years one could argue that there was a risk in developing a lot of lenses quickly as the future, higher resolution, sensors might require redesigns that would last a longer time on the market, and Nikon seems to have waited for 24MP until really letting out a lot of FX lenses, which I think made a lot of practical sense. But there are also a lot of older lenses available at very affordable prices and people do use them as well.

    The D600/D610 is a low cost FX camera which works well for some applications - for example a landscape photographer might need nothing that the D610 doesn't offer. I actually prefer the D610 ergonomics (grip) and sound to those of the D750, though the latter has better AF. I think both cameras are very price-competitive for certain applications and users.

    Do you have the feeling Nikon ever had a plan B?

    They've changed course many times. For example for decades they didn't feel a 70-200/4 was necessary and instead offered a lower cost, older 80-200/2.8. They eventually made a new 70-200/4, and an excellent one at that. They have moved from in-body AF motors to SWM. They did eventually make a D500 after customers were persistently requesting one. Now they seem to be in the process of switching from small-sensor (CX) mirrorless to a larger-sensor (full frame?) mirrorless. I do think they follow the market, though they might not always read it correctly.

    If Nikon can't beat the original A7 right out of the gate

    I suspect Andrew had the A7 family in mind, i.e. whatever model is latest. I think the A7RII was the model that broke the bank and now the current version is A7RIII. That's what Nikon is likely to aim to compete with, if they make a full frame mirrorless.

    in the m4/3 world lenses with f/1.2 or even f/0.95 apertures exist that allow shooting with the same DOF as f/1.4 primes.

    f/0.95 on micro four thirds is the depth of field equivalent of f/1.9 on FX, and the f/0.95 primes that I'm aware of are manual focus. Micro four thirds is great if you want a compact system but for shallow depth of field, it doesn't really compete with FX.

    I don't think there is any "one market" that Nikon should "get", or a coherent set of requests and expectations; different people have different needs and any one manufacturer can only hope to cater to some of these customer needs. I think Nikon is offering a lot more for the enthusiast and professional than they offered in the past. That doesn't mean their offering is perfect for everyone.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  7. Dieter (trying to be concise for once):

    • Some people are tempted to upgrade by the additional ISO performance and subject separation from a larger sensor; it's a reason many upgrade from compacts or phones. In my experience there's a fair bit of full-frame envy out there, it's just the price and weight penalty discourage people. Not everyone (I wouldn't kill the D3x00 or D5x00 lines), but many.
    • Many are happy to upgrade in place, especially with no interface change. Others might be put off, again by size and price. I'm advocating on behalf of a putative business model (which is dangerous, I know nothing about business or money) rather than customer requirements - Nikon need to offer products that make us give them money.
    • Nikon absolutely need to hit mirrorless with at least one competitive product line. I worry that neglecting a DSLR segment to do so adds a lot of risk to an already risky situation (I have much more confidence that Nikon can plug a gap with an SLR while they iterate on a mirrorless solution that hopefully customers will buy into). Under-resourcing mirrorless has its own risks, of course, so it's not clear cut.
    • My take was the D600 was launched to compete with the 6D - which by most measures it does very well. Lenses were a problem, although less when the cheaper (non-VR) 24-85, (slower) 24-120 and (non-AF-P) 70-300 were around. I admit I was surprised that Nikon seems to have got rid of their cheaper FX lens range.
    • Now the D7500 has lost its aperture ring, I still claim a budget upgrade path from that doesn't need one. AF motor... well, it's going to go eventually; it looks like the cheap non-VR 70-300 is the main counter-argument.
    Let's agree a mid-point: either Nikon needs to fill out its DX lens set for people in the D7x00/D500 bracket, or they need to provide enough budget glass with a budget FX camera. The D750 is currently a bargain (probably because the 5DIII became much more affordable after the 5DIV turned up), but it's also old; it's probably priced itself into being a D610 replacement, but it still doesn't meet the needs of some.
  8. Nikon should fix the mount throat size for their mirrorless platform (although a reduced flange distance should solve it too) for faster apertures. Of course there are f/1.2 lenses you can use on DX, just not very well. Still, most very fast lenses are optically awful at those apertures - the benefit of medium format is that you can get the look of shooting at a much faster apertures on 135 without the aperture-related optical aberrations. FX is mostly the sweet spot unless you want to try the 150mm f/2.8 5x4 lens.

    (Aperture-related diffraction.)

    I tend to avoid smaller apertures mostly because of dust. It helps that you can post-process to control the diffraction disk, although any sharpening introduces noise (same as for digitally correcting optical artifacts). Theoretically I believe you need to keep the effective aperture constant to balance this out, which means faster apertures and more optical aberrations on smaller formats. Luminous landscape had an interesting older article on it (something with "diffraction", "sensor size", and "aperture" in the search) but it's disappeared behind their paywall and I'm not paid up.
  9. Thank you ilkka and Shun for your help . There is probably something wrong with this lens ...I have the dock but doesn't seem to help now , in real world (at least in my case). ..Or maybe it have something to do with the firmware update...
  10. Paul - I can't see your exact problem, but I do have some issues with accurate focus with the 35mm and 50mm Art lenses. I suspect I've made significant adjustments to try to get focus correct, and the resulting adjustment curve is so extreme that at intermediate points it's doing something that makes things much worse. I should try again. I'm very much looking forward to Nikon's automated system when I eventually get a D850, although I'd like it more if, like Sigma, it had storage for different focus distances and focal lengths (and even more if it varied by focus point). The biggest issue I have with the Sigma is it's such a pain to keep taking the lens off the test rack - if they'd just put a USB port on the lens so you could adjust it in place, that would have been much nicer. Oh well.
  11. I think if there are too many parameters to adjust, users may make detailed adjustments based on insufficient data and make things worse. I find that 5 repetitions of the auto fine tune procedure is a good starting point for finding the mean value. It takes much less time than using conventional fine tuning methods, and usually the standard deviation is small. I do notice that there is variation depending on zoom focal length, but by selecting a mean value I've been satisfied (currently my procedure for zooms is that I basically do five repetitions at each marked focal length and then average those repetitions and focal lengths). I think the key to success is not to take any one single shot or auto fine tuning operation as gospel but do enough repetitions.

    If it is necessary to make focal length or distance dependent corrections, Nikon authorized service should be able to do it (and use finer than 1 point adjustments) but of course there is the task of taking the kit to them and explaining what you want. At least my local authorized service have a long testing range so even long focal length lenses can be tested and adjusted.
  12. Incidentally, I wandered into a local generic electronic goods store today and, as you do, took a peek at their camera selection. A few low-end Canons and Sonys, an on the Nikon front, a D5600, a D5300 (for almost the same price), a D3400, and a J5 with a 10-30mm on "clearance" for £184 (about $245, but that includes 20% VAT). I had a little play, and I've got to say the handling is vastly better than the V1 (second command dial whoo!), though I can't really hold it in shooting position while trying to turn that dial. I had a brief moment of excitement when I saw it "shot 4K" until I checked the frame rate.

    Of course, I wouldn't actually touch that particular one with a bargepole, because it was sitting there without a lens on (presumably to avoid theft), and there was a clear fingerprint on the sensor protector. See my previous rants about stores that do this. But interesting nonetheless.

    There have been almost no compact Nikons produced this year, and obviously nothing in the CX line for a while. I hope they're all busy on future mirrorless bodies (and lenses), although given the number of reorganisations at Nikon it's hard to tell. Good luck to them.
  13. I believe you. I'm sure I made matters worse by not being exactly on the stated distance for my measurements - one reason I hope automating should help.

    I do get the impression that the Sigma Art lenses vary significantly according to focal distance - especially the 35mm, which I carefully fine-tuned once before I had the dock, and found still to be massively unpredictable. It was worse on my D800, which might not behave as well as a D810 anyway. I might get the chance to reset and re-test everything over the holidays. The 80-200 AF-D was famous for this too, of course.
  14. AG
    At the time that I got my D7200, I had looked at a few mirrorless, but the reports of significant shutter lag reminded me of my P&S, where I HATE the shutter lag. When I press the shutter, I want it to fire IMMEDIATELY, like it did with my F2. A 1 to 2 second delay is not acceptable for action shots (sports and kids).
    Maybe there is a mirrorless now that does not have that shutter lag, or at least has it down to less than 1/2 second.
  15. And herein lies the problem (for me): there has been times when they didn't offer something I would have wanted to purchase. D300 successor? AF 80-400 successor? A 70-200/4? I sampled the D7x00 line - which turned out not to be to my liking and certainly kept me from going FX with D6x0 or D750 (at least $800 more than comparable DX models just to get a bigger sensor (while losing other things in the process)?). ANY decent midrange zoom (sorry, the various 24-85 and the 24-120 are not what I consider "decent"). Replacement of any of the old AF wide-angle primes took ages to materialize. A 300/4 replacement with VR - same story. Some of those actually made me have a look-see at Canon offerings (but not more). And some other make me now have more than just a look-see with Sony FX mirrorless. Which incidentally makes my interest in Nikon DX and FX mirrorless mostly academic at this point - I am just eager to see what they come up with. Sony now is already at the third iteration of the A7R, having ironed out some of the quirks of the first model and managed to improved on the already fairly good A7RII.

    Probably worst from Nikon's perspective: there is not a single lens in their system (besides the ones I already own) I would want to purchase at this point. Not fully Nikon's fault though; for the time being I just have the feeling that I have what I need and the acquisition costs of good lenses by now certainly exceeds what I am willing to pay. And quite a few are Sigma or Tokina because they either offered something Nikon doesn't or because they offer equal/better performance at a lower price point.

    My worries exactly. I am beginning to warm up to the idea of a low-end, low frills DSLR if Nikon can pull if off on the cheap (re-using the D750 chassis with the current AF module and sensor, omitting the Ai tab and internal AF motor, possibly replacing the pentaprism with a pentamirror. Unfortunately, whatever they do in that realm will look more like a stop gap measure than anything else. It might be needed but it might also be a dud (though proper pricing might get it some takers).

    True - but they could get there even cheaper with a Sony A7 or A& Mk II bodies (especially when purchased used) or a used D800 (which I would personally find a lot more desirable for landscape than a D600/D610). And from a landscape photographer's point of view, I think Sony has lenses better suited for the task than Nikon does. In addition to fit any brand of lens via adapter, in some case not even losing AF.
    You sure? I thought it was one f-stop for FX-to-DX and two for FX-to-m4/3; so f/1 on m4/3 would be equivalent in DOF to f/1.4 on FX (and f/1.2 m4/3 o f/2 FX)?
    Indeed - though I thought there was a Leica/Panasonic that wasn't (turned out to be f/1.2 when I checked).

    You may want to look at the Nikon 16-80/2.8-4 or even the older 16-85/3.5-5.6 - both managed 24mm-equivalent without getting overly large and heavy. And, at least for the 16-80 be optically better than the 24-120. The 16-85 loses by a narrow margin to the 18-140 and might be about par with the 24-120 optically (but there is that rather slow aperture).
    Not too many takers, I guess. Certainly not after the size and weight advantage over a 70-200/2.8 has been lost with the updated OS version of the 50-150. Tokina made a 50-135/2.8, also discontinued (Pentax still has the equivalent lens though). My guess is that the availability of used Nikon 70-200/2.8 VR (first version), as well as those of other makers narrower the market segment for the 50-150 further.

    Sorry, I don't feel very agreeable today, at least not on the first part:) Since Nikon has not found it necessary to fill in the obvious gaps in the DX lens line when DX was in its prime, why should they do it now that at least I think the days of DX DSLR are quite numbered? On the FX budget lens side, I would agree - but with the 18-35 and AF-P 70-300 there are already two good offerings and, as seems to be endemic with almost every lens maker, the mid-range segment is where the trouble is. It appears that anything that spans wide-angle to small tele requires an inordinate amount of careful compromises to get excellent optical quality. So maybe a re-thinking of the focal length range for those budget zooms might be in order - like a 18/20-50 and a 50-200, omitting the need for a mid-range zoom altogether? Of course, a lot of convenience goes out the door with that choice of focal length range.
  16. Hmm, don't which camera you meant. I do remember that the earlier ones were slow - but quite some years ago now. This technology has come a long way. Maybe some cameras still lag, I don't know. I don't notice much of any lag to prevent me from shooting instant action with my Olympus EM1 II. Not to scare anyone, it can shoot 65 fps. I did try that at first but it yielded 65 shots of similar images that I didn't need. So now I just press the shutter for a little while for a little burst.
  17. Dieter, f/1.0 is one stop faster than f/1.4.

    The D6x0 may be well suited to a landscape photographer on a budget who have or want to use Nikon or Nikon mount lenses. Fiddling with adapters isn’t attractive to me at least. Lenses are subjective; although I have a number of Zeiss lenses I mostly use Nikkors out of preference to the way the images look. Zeiss lenses often produce images which seem harsh to me whereas images from Nikon lenses more gentle. Ten years ago when FX was just coming out Nikon hadn’t updated their primes in a long time and it seemed like a good idea to buy some Zeiss lenses to fill in the weaker spots but today I prefer Nikon lenses.

    1.5-1.6x crop DSLRs don’t seem to be going anywhere - Sony advertised that they surpassed Nikon in monetary value in full frame cameras sold in the beginning of the year, but if we include DX then Nikon is far ahead, and while Nikon’s entry level DX camera sales have reduced a lot last year, Canon’s 1.6x models are booming and they’re doing well with their 1,6x mirrorless too. I know personally two people who recently purchased an M5 or M6 and seem happy with them.

    I think Nikon really had a bad 2016 as some of the tech they launched or announced didn’t work (Snapbridge, DL), and the entry level DSLRs were stripped of some features, finally the compact camera business was in free fall. But at least Snapbridge seems to finally work (the D850 and SB 2.0 surprised me by working without problems) and the D850 is a big success. I think Snapbridge initially was a disaster and I am sure it affected Nikon sales in a negative way in 2016. Now things are looking a bit brighter.

    I do think that Nikon should succeed by making products that people need and want to use rather than trying to lure people into buying something that people don’t need.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2017
  18. Yes, I'm not sure about that. Earlier mirrorless cameras can take a while to acquire (or occasionally confirm) focus, but if you're locked on, it's been some years since I've met anything with significant lag (including my phone). My Agfa ePhoto 1680 certainly did, but I don't think I noticed it on my GF2, which is relatively early for mirrorless. I can't check, because a colleague still has it. There is, of course, a small but significant lag with an SLR too, while the mirror moves out of the way and the aperture adjusts - something I mostly notice when trying to capture lightning.
  19. You're right, going to hang my head in shame :oops:

    I might have done the same if Zeiss had offered AF lenses - once I went digital (which coincide with my introduction to AF), manual focus was no longer an option for me. I might actually enjoy the harsher rendering but it is most unlikely that I will get to try it anytime soon.
    Having been there, done that, they no longer hold appeal to me either. But for some, even professionals, it does seem to be an option they utilize and enjoy.

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