Nikon Digital & the Full Frame Image Sensor

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ron_adar|1, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Is Nikon ever going to come out with full frame image sensors?

    I think if enough photographers request it, in the end they may
    capitulate. So, how and where can one write and ask for it?

    Would love to here your thoughts about larger image sensors in Nikons?
  2. You'll never see one. They're committed to the DX format.
  3. I personaly think it will be a feature in the future, and be in pro-dSLR's. At some point it will be the only way to get highr ISO. There are so many more improvments that can be made in the camera that a full frame sensor will not be a hot list item for a while.
  4. I say that in some years they will eventually have a larger sensor, or maybe not since by making the sensor this size you have better rendition of your lenses.

    I don't really know but personally I do not like the image on the viewfinder being smaller than what you would see on a regular 35mm film camera. The bigger the image is, the easier it is for me to compose.

    So if you had a bigger sensor camera, would you pay more than $5,000 USD for one?
  5. I don't need/want fullframe. If there is going to be a place for people to request fullframe cameras, there should be a place for people to request to keep the DX format as well :)
  6. I'd love to see a full-frame Nikon DSLR, and have complete compatibility with my 35mm lenses. I'm not sure it's worth a 100% premium over the DX sensor. There's nothing magic about "full-frame". If I can get the results and resolution I need out of a DX sensor, I'm a happy camper.

    Consider that 35mm was introduced as a "double-frame" format compared to 35mm cinema. Was that because would-be photographers complained? Maybe we're just heading back to our roots.
  7. <p>Like Jonas I would support a petition to retain the DX format. In fact I would petition
    Nikon to commit to never release cameras to another format.
    <p>I want a good camera and I want stability. DX delivers on both counts. A migration to any
    other format would cancel the stability without improving the cameras so I am opposed to it.
  8. I would not say you'll never see it but is there really a need? My basis for asking is that I've
    shot --quite a lot with a 1Dsmk2 and a D2X. If you are concerned about wide angle
    performance the Nikon DX format and w/a DX lenses have current offerings from Canon
  9. One problem I have with the dx versus full frame thing.... And this is that I cannot plan the money I want to spend. Meaning that I would be perfectly happy with dx if nikon went out and said, look for the next 10 years we are going to stick to dx and that is it.

    This would leave me free to go exchange my 20mm 2.8 in order to get a dx wide angle like 10-20 that I want. Or I could say ok DX will stay for the next a lot of years so I can give my 24-120 VR and get the new one 18-200 VR. Let us just assume all that, I do not know if necessarily I would do it.

    But now, with the speed that cameras are changing at the moment I do not know if nikon will suddenly change its mind in two years time because eg. sony will make a super cheap full frame and I will have in three years to buy my old lenses again.

    This does not go only with dx. What I am saying is that progress is good, but, the whole thing with the canons 5d's and nikons d200's has started a bit reminding windows 2000 and xp and service pack 2 and oh my computer now is slow let's upgrade it again to get the super model that does the same things.....

    Of course photography was and is an expensive hobby but at least some years ago people were able to know, calculate and plan their expenses. It would be nice now if nikon said to us (customers) ok, 10MP are enough in the d200 for any person that does not make posters to cover buildings and dx is fine, so now we will improve battery, weight, viewfinder, fps, dynamic range, noise algorithms, reliability, autofocus, new lenses etc. and we will leave you in peace. Of course I know that no sane company will do something like that, but customers also do not help when the new camera that gets out and costs 2000 dollars they buy it like it costs 200.
  10. Actully I agree with Benoit, let us petition so dx will stay :))
  11. Why were smaller imaging chips produced in the first place? Because they were better than large ones? Of course not! Larger chips were more difficult and much more expensive to make. As time goes on, imaging sensors become easier and cheaper to produce. The larger chips offer higher resolutions and better signal to noise ratios.

    That's not to say there won't be a market for the smaller sensors, but when Canon produces a 5D for the same price as a Nikon D200 (and they will), that's when I'm jumping the Nikon ship. (Unless of course if Nikon beats them to the punch, but when is the last time Nikon was a LEADER in DSLR technology?)

    All the Best,

    Joe Oliva
  12. They will introduce a FF DSLR in a few years, but it will not be mainstream at least for 15 years. That's my guess. As to stability, well, if you can get the lenses you need for either format, what does it really matter? I want 35 mm quality (e.g. F6/F100) viewfinders in my digital cameras, and would like to see different sensor sizes available like Canon has. This would allow me to use a different camera with a different sensor size for different applications, as different sensor sizes have different strengths and weaknesses.
  13. Ilkka, I think that it will be much sooner. With the speed that canon goes in 2-3 years the equivalent 20d body will be full frame. And nikon will follow in no more than 5 years and people will throw away their dx lenses. I am just guessing...
  14. Vasilis Apostolopoulos says One problem I have with the dx versus full frame thing.... And this is that I cannot plan the money I want to spend.
    EXACTLY!! Vasilis has identified the REAL problem. I don't think it matters which Nikon picks as long as they PICK one! People need to be able to make plans.
    Joe Oliva says The larger chips offer higher resolutions and better signal to noise ratios.
    Don't be so sure about that - According to the tests I've seen, the Canon 20D actually has (slightly) better noise performance than the new FF 5D. Also, the 20D has a slightly smaller sensor than the D100, and smaller photosites because there are more of them, but it has much better noise performance than the D100, especially at higher ISO's (I own both cameras and the difference is quite significant).
  15. I suppose it's a minor point to many, but it's important to me, non-DX wide angles focus closer than their DX counterparts and can take a K1 tube for even closer focus, the 12-24 DX cannot. I think the Nikon system has some advantages for the macro photographer and the 1.5 crop can be a blessing and a curse.

    Although I have none, there are no DX PC lenses.

    Still I will buy a D200...
  16. In our present western capitalistic system (for which I'm mostly thankful) it's necessary to keep a continuous R&D flow, marketing products that will make satisfied consumers unsatisfied enough to abandon their competent equipment for superior equipment. My refurbed 4 MP model with a smaller sensor actually does pretty good for me, within the limitations of my 8 1/2 X 11 printer. I'm spending my limited money on the consumables... good paper and ink.
  17. Well, Nikon have said that they'll primarily make dx cameras but one ff will come eventually. So there you have it, make your purchases. Me, I dont' have any problem using my FF lenses on DX cameras, zero, none. Besides, I shoot so much film that buying any of the current dx lenses doesn't make sense for me. I don't have any uncertainty here: all my lenses work on all Nikon SLRs, future, past, and current. Okay, that's not quite true as one of my lenses is "G".
  18. Regardless what Nikon chooses to do with digital backs, they still have 35 mm film backs, which will always be full frame. Nikon, I expect, will continue to use the same lens mount for both.

    So the question should be, will Nikons DX still be APS-C format?
  19. ...but when is the last time Nikon was a LEADER in DSLR technology?
    Actually, the Nikon D1 beat Canon as far as having a DSLR body that wasn't grafted to a big, ugly chunk of Kodak technology. But then Nikon got lazy and allowed Canon to walk all over them sensorwise, but that's another story...
    I, for one, want a FF sensor because my brain is trained to think "28mm, 50mm, and 135mm". With a FF (film) camera, I can predict what these lenses will see, how far away from my subject I need to be to get what I want, about what DOF I will have, and my fingers have the muscle memory to focus these lenses almost without thinking. The 1.5 crop means I have to relearn all this stuff with "equivalent" focal lengths which drives me nuts, and means I lose the Zen connection I have with my favorite primes. It also means I will never have a really fast superwide lens; the Sigma 20mm f1.8 is more like a 30mm. An expensive & slow 12-24mm f4 doesn't cut it for me.
    Unfortunately, Nikon is beholden to Sony and/or other chip makers for sensors, and so probably cannot control R&D of a new FF sensor as much as they would like. Yes, they have LBCAST, but they seem to have abandoned that at least for now.
    Anyway, what I really want is a Nikon D2x with a Canon 5D sensor in it.
  20. Well, perhaps it's time to change. After all, 4x5, 8x10, 6x7, 645, 35mm and DX all have different focal lengths and training yourself to particular lenses isn't a good idea. Learn to use what is available and you'll see that more things can be done than in the old days.
  21. The truth is Nikon has already developed several full-frame sensors and then sold them to Canon because they were not satisfied with their quality.

    But... don't tell anyone! It's a secret.
  22. There are 2 issues that will drive Nikon into going Full Frame. One is the market, they'll eventually have to do it just to compete. The other is for optical reasons. It's a simple fact of life, for a given print size, larger formats yield more fine detail. Reading posts about the D2x indicate that it's capable of "out resolving" most lenses at aperture settings of f8 and smaller. Basically, at f5.6, our best lenses are probably only capable of resolving 14-16mp of detail, choose a smaller aperture and the level of detail resolved drops very quickly. Since the resolution at apertures in the f5.6 and smaller range are limited by Physics, the only way to gain resolution is to switch to a larger format. When the lines/mm hit's the diffraction limit, the only way to gain more lines is by taking in more mm.

    I expect that we'll see the D.3 released as a Full Frame Nikon within the next 2 years and the D.300 will follow about 6 months later. Rumors are already circulating about the PMA in February but I think that won't happen. I think that next years Photokina is the earliest that we'll see the D3 and they may hold off until summer 2007. But it will happen and Nikon will make sure that any FF Nikon will support the DX format lenses with a "crop mode".

    I also expect that we'll be seeing "consumer" Nikon's utilizing the DX format for a long time. Nikon will use the cost reductions in the future sensors so that in 10 years we'll probably be seeing an 8-10mp "consumer" DX format Nikon DSLR selling for about what the N80 is currently selling for.

    What it means is that we can buy the DX format lenses without worrying if they will become obsolete. However, I WOULD NOT trade in any 35mm lenses to obtain a DX lens. For one thing, trade in values are always disproportionatly low. The other thing is that someday soon you'll want those lenses.

    As for budgeting issues, my plan is simple, only buy the DX format lenses that are a "must have" and hang on to all of my 35mm lenses. That means that the only DX format lenses that I will be buying are at the "wide" end of the scale. Since I am quite pleased with my 18-70 DX, that means that the only DX format lenses that have any appeal to me are the 12-24 and perhaps a 16mm f2.8 DX prime (whenever Nikon wakes up and releases some DX primes).
  23. Ilkka, that is exactly what I am saying that all my lenses are full frame like you, but with full frame I cannot have a 24 or 20mm equivalent (except a 14mm lens that I am not willing to buy, because on full frame it is too wide). Instability does not help me, I do not care if it is nikon or canon or minolta or whatever I do not care if it is full frame or dx or anything else. As long as they make their minds, tell me as well so I can see as a consumer what I want. For me DX is sufficient, 10 MP is sufficient as well what I do care is about things that nikon or canon do not .... like less weight, better viewfinders a way to get rid of the mirror and make less noise than a machine gun etc....
  24. Yeah, I have the 14 mm and I'd say that it's a big lens, which is it's primary problem, but it's actually somewhat useful on a FF camera, you can use it for architectural stuff as long as you're careful and don't get dizzy looking through the VF (I do) so mount it on a tripod and stop down, and you can turn heads with the shots.

    I bought it because I have an otherwise complete kit of primes and wanted a wide wide for the DX format. It is okay, but it would be nice that Nikon came up with a DX equivalent for less money and not as big as this one is. I've gotten good results on architecture using it with either film or D70. It's not a spectacularly good lens, but it does its job.

    I think Nikon has made up its mind (DX for the foreseeable future) but users disagree and many want full frame, so they'll do that too, but probably only one model.
  25. z4m


    I personally assume yes, they will offer full frame 36x24 format in their D-3/300 line to full ultilize the non-dx lens, there is no point to stick to dx if the price of a full frame ccd drops. There is nothing wrong shooting in dx format, but give me back my 85mm on digital, it is too darn long on dx!
    Further I would expect a 36x36 format, I believe any full frame nikkor is capable, however the mirror is the problem to tackle, it will scratch the lens end.
  26. Has anyone read the D5 test report on dpreview? Their were positive and negative comments made and favorable and less favorable comparisons made to other canon and Nikon models. The positive point made for the full frame models was in dynamic range and espectially the ability of FF sensors to do better than the Dx2 in the area of latitude the FF models had 3.5 stops vs. about 1 stop measured for the D2x. For me blown highlights or loss of shadow detail is as much an issue as viewfinder image, buying extra lenses because of the loss of wide angle range due to cropping or high iso noise on smaller sensors cameras. I urge everyone to read this detailed test.

    The test failed to use Zeiss or Leica wide angle lenses on the Canon cameras, but some pros say that good wide angle lenses cure corner light falloff due mostly to Canons poor wide angle lenses performance.

    On cost of ownership and equipment funding. I as an amateur can't expense and depreciate equipment as a busines would. However, as a hobbiest I can wait until what I want is available. I use my D70 for long lens work the 1.5x crop and my 1.7x tele converter make my VR 70-200 a 500+mm lens at a fairly fast f stop.

    My F100 does my wide angle work with my 20-35 nikkor f2.8, and does my portraits with my 50mm 1.2, 45mm f2.8p and 85mm f1.4. If the F6 ever comes down in price I will gladly waste my money on it even if film is not arround for the next 15 years. I figure an F6 would hold me until Nikon comes out with a FF dslr.
  27. more speculations...

    of course Nikon will develop a FF DSLR. rationales: a) the market/competitive situation demands it, b) sensor real-estate. there comes a time where one cannot cram more pixels onto a APS sensor without compromising the quality of the output, no matter how much post-processing one does.

    when? who knows? my bet is that the D2X replacement will be a FF.

    who cares? it will cost more than i care to spend a DSLR body.
  28. It's probably safe to say that Nikon's plans and timing for any introduction of a 24x36 sensor will be influenced by the *financial* success of the Canon 5D. Not the *critical* acclaim or technological breakthrough, but whether the 5D proves to be a serious profit making machine.

    Flagship model 35mm and digital SLRs don't make a company, tho' they can break 'em. The flagship models are purchased by relatively few photographers, but strongly influence the buying patterns of consumers of low end and midrange cameras.

    IMO, The 5D is an oddball. It isn't fast enough to be considered competitive with other PJ-oriented dSLRs, including Canon's own new EOS-1D MarkIIn. There's no way yet to know whether it will prove to have the durability of a 1Ds MarkII or D2X, so there's some question as to how popular it will become among pros and serious amateurs.

    And some might consider it too expensive for what you get. I don't know where I rank among prospective dSLR users, but I'd rather have the 1D MarkIIn for approximately the same money. Many folks who might otherwise consider the 5D for superior imaging potential will also consider the fact that they could buy a 20D (or keep the one they already own) and put the money toward better lenses.
  29. This subject has become boring. There are very good reasons for the smaller sensor but the point is, we Nikon user's comfort zone has been shaken a bit. We are all use to 35mm format and change is a difficult thing for everyone. Although FF users may feel happy with their sensor, if you read scientific test analysis you will see that the edges are not sharp at all and that is the Achilles heel of FF. As a matter of fact, on many forums some pro?s are even suggesting that the cropped sensor would actually suit them better. This is especially true in landscape images where the whole frame must be sharp. However, in sports the main subject is usually in the centre so the edges need not be sharp.

    The sensor size is not the final factor in image quality. All the algorithms and paraphernalia surrounding the image formation processes play a significant role. Then there is the camera settings such as in camera sharpness, white balance etc. and finally I think the most important the lenses used. Spend more $ on glass than yapping about techno rhetorical issues. In the days of film I had 3 camera?s and 3 lenses. I sold everything, decided on Nikon and now have 1 camera and 5 lenses. And I can tell you, I don?t give a rats backside about sensor size, I have more freedom with more glass than I would ever have with 1 lens and a FF camera !

    Want a good review, have a look at:
  30. Don't be fooled by all the marketing hype Canon throws out about their full frame bodies. I've shot full frame and 1.5 (Kodak DCS Pro 14nx, Nikon D100, Nikon D70 and Nikon D2X) and the only appreciable difference between the two is that on a full frame body your 28mm wide angle is a 28mm wide angle. That's the only difference. When using a full frame and a Nikon body, you will not be able to tell the difference between images once they are printed. You can't even tell the difference between the RAW images, unless you look at the EXIF data.

    Besides, Nikon is developing new DX lenses (both wide angle and others) so the point will be moot soon.
  31. A couple of FF vs. smaller sensor issues for me:

    1) I like the depth-of-field control and viewing angle a fast 50mm lens offers. The 35mm-ish lens I would end up using on a digital camera as an equivalent to a 50mm has more depth-of-field at similar apertures, so I have less control. (Yes, I know that if I move up to medium or large format I'd have even more DOF control, but 35mm offers the best balance of control and portability and I've been really happy with the DOF on my 50mm and 85mm lenses.)

    DOF has become really important to me, and limiting DOF can really add to a photo's effectiveness. Shorter focal lengths for normal and tele lenses seems like a step backward to me.

    2) I love my fast and compact 20mm f2.8 Nikkor. I don't want it to effectively turn into a 30mm (with more distortion than my 35mm Nikkor?), nor do I want to lug around a huge zoom or even a super-wide prime with twice the filter size and smaller aperture to get the same angle of view.

    Because of these I haven't made the switch from film to digital on the camera side. Give me a dSLR that allows me the DOF control that I enjoy now and lets me use small, fast superwides with 52mm or 62mm filters and I'll take the plunge. In the meantime, I'll keep shooting film and scanning the negatives.
  32. I wish Nikon had a better way for photographer to interact with them. Personally I shoot both digital and film and I hate to have to buy two sets of lenses, just too damn expensive.

    Thanks to all.
  33. You don't have to buy separate lenses for film and digital. I have 13 Nikkors from 14 mm to 300 mm and they all work well with both formats.

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