Replacement for Nikon D300? A D7100?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mervyn_wilmington, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. My D300 remains the delightful camera it has always been, but not without shortcomings, especially the iso range. I work on the basis that its upper limit for quality is 800, bearing in mind that I often crop and enlarge substantially.
    A D7100 would be within my budget. There have been numerous reviews and comments on that model, including its iso limitations. However, perhaps as always, there are different opinions about that. Since the model has now been in use for quite a time, I would welcome 'mature' views about its limitations in that regard. I use Lightroom as a matter of course, but don't want to rely on that to try to recover quality.
    Can I also say that I don't want to go full frame.
    Advice/help would be appreciated.
  2. I have not used a D7100 but I have recently upgraded from a D300 to the D7200 and I have noticed a difference..... Definitely has been a good choice for me doing landscapes, events, portraits. I have not thought of going full frame and really enjoying the D7200. The money saved has allowed me to purchase lighting equipment and good some good glass too. I have only heard good things about the D7100.
  3. The D7100 has a very small raw buffer and if you're used to shooting quickly this can be an issue. I would recommend taking a look at the D7200. It has a larger buffer and some other improvements over the D7100 (improved sensor, improved AF sensitivity etc.) If the D7200 is outside of your budget then you may consider the D7100 which is a fine camera for general photography. If you do get the D7100, I would recommend switching to 12-bit compressed NEF for action situations as the image quality loss by doing so is minimal but the buffer can hold a few more frames that way. The 24MP DX sensor can be demanding on optical quality but I felt the image quality e.g. with 70-200/4, 70-200mm f/2.8 II, and 200/2 II was great.
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If the objective is to get better high-ISO results, FX is the clear answer, but the OP has already ruled that out.
    Among DX bodies, high-ISO results have improved from each successive generation, from D300 -> D7000 -> D7100 -> D7200. Currently the D7200 is the best Nikon DX body concerning high-ISO result. If a D7200 is beyond your budget, the D7100 is still a good choice with some limitations as Ilkka mentioned.
  5. For image quality, even on a per-pixel basis, I'd expect the D7100 (or D7200) to outperform - or at least match - a D300. Technology has moved on. You might like to look at what DxO measured - but I always look at the graphs, don't just take a single number. The D7200 is slightly better at retaining shadow detail, I believe, but obviously you'd be paying for that.

    I think there are two main concerns in a D300 to D7100 upgrade: the first, as Ilkka notes, is the raw buffer (for which the D7200 is better). The other is the handling - the D7100 is positioned like the D90 used to be, so there are a number of differences from the D300. It's substantially smaller and lighter, too. Unfortunately, unless Nikon eventually launch a "true D300 replacement", there's not much you can do to retain D300-like handling short of buying a D800 or D810 and using it in crop mode (which isn't entirely daft, but is going to cost more). It's worth trying a camera in a store to make sure you're okay with it, though.

    Disclaimer: All based only on playing with these cameras and reading reviews. I only own(ed) FX models.
  6. Many thanks for the help and advice.
    Shun - perhaps I should have said that I recently sold my much loved D700 and quite a lot of glass that went with it. Age and health problems are such that I was having difficulty in humping it all around. Going FX again would involve weight and more cost than I would prefer.
    I had the D300 as a back-up camera, and decided to keep it for the time being. It is also heavy and has limited iso performance. Still a lovely camera!
  7. I really like my D7100. I've had it for 2 years now. It's fairly light, I don't really need to burst my shots, so I don't really have buffer issues. If I put my 35mm on, it's a nice compact piece to walk around with. Even with my 17-50mm is ok. Even though you don't want to rely on it, Lightroom does recover shots very well. I actually prefer LR over PS these days. It's not a "pro" camera per se, but as a matter of course, it's very, very good. I find no reason to bump up to a D7200.
  8. There are multiple choises these days. D5500 would be about as light as Nikon DX DSLR gets and has fold out display. D7100 is nice, has similar quality af as D300, but has small buffer. D7200 should be even better, has improved af and medium size buffer.
  9. Mervyn.
    I have owned the d300 and loved it well. After I felt the same limitations I moved on to the d7100 which I still own and love. I have shot at 1600 on it with excellent results. It is now the back up to my d810. It has never had a malfunction and I would have no hesitation in advising someone to buy it. I would also consider the d7200. It is a step up, at least on paper. I think you would love either. As far as full frame is concerned. I love the d810 and especially love the ability to make large gallery prints. It does beautifully at 3200 and reasonably well at 6400. Hope this is of sam help.
  10. I made the switch from the D300 to the D7100 - more out of necessity than "desire".
    I wholeheartedly agree with everything Andrew wrote above - technically, the D7100 reflects substantial progress over the D300 (except for the already mentioned buffer issue). Sadly, in terms of feel and handling, the opposite is true - when Nikon chose to drop the Dx00 DX series and created the D7x00 series, they chose to make it an evolution of the Dx0 series rather than of the Dx00. As a result, the D7100/D7200 has a severely compromised control layout and has an inferior feel to it (vs the D200/D300). As Andrew mentioned, handle one in the store to make sure you are OK with it. For me, the D7100 has become a camera I use when I have to - not because I want to.
    Re: buffer. Using the fastest SD card available, the issue is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the buffer never really fills up - after about one second, the frame rate drops but the camera keeps on shooting. If one needs a fast frame rate for more than 1s, then this is not acceptable. But for some circumstances, it suffices. For me it has been a major concern - mostly unfounded as it turned out (though I wouldn't mind a D7200 to overcome the limitation).
    U1 and U2 appear more useful - since easier accessible - than the memory banks in the D300 (which I never used). Since my D7100 is pretty much a single-use camera nowadays, I have not felt the need to program mine yet.
    I already mentioned it a few times in other threads, I don't like the mode dial (especially not on the left side) and would very much prefer a mode button (on the right side). Way to much to do for the left hand on the layout.
    The placement of the ISO button is abstruse - aggravated by the fact that its function cannot be transferred to any other button on the camera.

    Yes, the D7100 is lighter than the D300 - for me negated by the fact that I have to have the battery grip mounted to be able to hold the camera. As a result, the D7100 is now larger and heavier than the D300 - some progress.
    In short, for me the D7100 often gets in the way of shooting and makes things harder than they need to be.
    I can't find fault with and hence like the results I get with the D7100 - I just don't like the camera itself. It's a tool I have to use - but not one I look forward using.
  11. Dieter: I hope you're the exception for having such problems with handling! Coming from a D700/D800/D810, whenever I've handled a D7x00-series (or even D6x0 or D750) it's felt like a toy. I don't think I'd have found it unusable, though. For some reason, moving to a bigger camera has never felt so unwieldy - I'm still fine on my F5, going from my 300D to a D700 wasn't a problem, and a D4 never felt weird.

    As I've said repeatedly, I don't understand why Nikon have persisted in putting so much control only where it can be reached by a hand that should be busy holding a lens. I don't think I'd realised that the D7100 didn't have the trick that appeared part way into the D800's life: using the movie record button to control ISO. I'm annoyed enough that metering mode has randomly shifted to the left shoulder on the D810 (and needs two hands!) - but at least you can override that with a front button. I've still not really forgiven Nikon for moving the AF area configuration to the AF mode button in the D800/D4 generation. I don't mind things moving, but I prefer them not to have been tidied to where I can't reach them!

    At least I can sympathise about the fast cards: the D800 needs fast SD(/CF) cards to make live view less painful (because it hands until the image is written). Not quite as annoying as a tiny buffer, but just as expensive!
  12. I don't think I'd have found it unusable, though​
    Believe I didn't say "unusable" - it certainly wasn't my intention to convey that impression. But the entire control layout is certainly inferior to the D300/D700 and its progression in the D800/D800E/D810. I have my fair share of adaptation issues to the D810 - just the other day I learned that what I had considered the "tripod" live view mode to be the "movie live view mode" - and promptly shot a whole bunch of 16:9 panorama shots (luckily, I was shooting landscapes, so not too much harm done). I still haven't figured out all the settings on the D810 - and moving between it, a D7100 and D700 is being made awkward enough by all the "who moved my cheese" changes that don't actually add up to increase functionality.
    I just read Thom Hogan's D7200 review. The D7200 is certainly the best D70 there ever was - but I do not forgive Nikon for not bringing a DX body to market that has a control layout like the D810. I don't expect to not have to adapt when moving from one camera generation to the next - but I don't think it is too much to expect at least the maximum amount of consistency. Nikon, however, seems to prefer the "let's see what we can move" approach - without a clear logic behind why that move was made in the first place. Is 'customer annoyance' a desirable feature nowadays?
    I'm sure I can eventually train myself to remember where things are on the camera I am using - but why do they have to be so many difference where no discernible reason exists?
    There were differences in the control layout between the D200 and D300 - and I used both interchangeably with nary an issue. I never made a list of the differences, but I do believe them to be not as numerous as the ones I have to deal with nowadays moving between the three bodies mentioned above. Of the top of my head, one annoying one I remember was loosing the bracketing button of the D200 when moving to the D300. The fact that the AF mode dial changed was unavoidable - the entire AF system changed.
    Comparing the Nikon menu structure with the one of my Sony, I honestly can't say which one I prefer; they are certainly different enough. And all things considered, I very likely prefer the control layout on the D700 or D810 over that of the A7. But except for the "Menu" button, there isn't a single one that requires the left hand to operate. Probably, given the size of the body and lenses, Sony realized that there has to be one hand on the lens at all times ;-)
  13. Agreed, Dieter. My primary reason for never using my D700 as back-up to my D800e - other than there not being much it could do that the D800 couldn't - was that swapping the + and - buttons drove me nuts! At least I don't menu dive often enough to find the software changes so confusing. I was interested to see, while looking on another thread, how much the viewfinder display changed even between the D810 and D750. I don't mind Nikon staying busy, but I did send them a feature request list over five years ago, and they've not implemented it all yet...
  14. I have to say I don't find any problem with the user interface of the D7100 (and the D7200 should be similar in most respects). I think Nikon assumee that most users will use either a monopod or tripod when using a huge lens which must be supported from the lens rather than the camera body. In monopod or tripod based operation, having some left hand controls is not a problem. Nor is it when using a lightweight lens.

    I also think they assume most users don't fiddle with ISO all the time. But they have made some concessions i.e the D810 record button can be reprogrammed for ISO.
  15. When handholding a camera left hand control is not a problem either. After all: they put a grip on the right, right? So it's the right hand that is glued to where it is more than the left.<br><br>As back up, and when going for controls in the wrong place is a worry, and assuming you're always so much in a hurry that you cannot even think, the same camera as the one it is supposed to be a back up for would be the best choice. But i never found it difficult to switch from one to another myself. The key is not to have identical cameras but being familiar with the cameras you have.<br><br>When not intended as a back up, it doesn't matter. All that matters then as far as controls are concerned is that they don't put things you need often in a hard to reach place.
  16. Q.G. if the lens is about 3kg or heavier, it cannot be safely supported from the camera only; when shooting hand held, the left hand in practice must support the lens. The camera's lens mount is the likely point where damage occurs if you lift the camera + heavy lens without supporting the lens also (speaking from personal experience; also, Nikon warns against doing this in the 200/2 manual). In this situation, supporting a heavy lens with the left hand while shooting hand held, it can be difficult to reach the ISO button without putting the rig down (in cameras where ISO cannot be reprogrammed on a control on the right hand side which is possible in some but not most Nikon DSLRs). This is one of the reasons why some users where protest at the two-hand and left-hand only controls. I don't mind putting the camera down for adjustment since I don't touch ISO (or autofocus area mode) all that often in most photography situations where I am in, but others require easier access to it.
    Personally I think the simple solution is to simply buy only cameras where the controls are where you need them to be. For me as I said the controls of the D7100 are not a problem but I appreciate the inconvenience of adjustment of ISO by those who hand hold heavy lenses a lot.
  17. [Edit: Essay writing crossed over with Ilkka!]
    Q.G.: The left hand is glued to supporting the weight of the camera, by the centre of gravity of the camera and lens. If you're using a tiny lens (maybe a 50mm f/1.8) such that you can comfortably support the camera and lens with the right hand on the grip, or if you're - as Ilkka suggests - on a tripod, maybe you can move your left hand. If you're using anything bigger, you can't stably move your hands at all. If you're going to move anything, it's the right hand, but only precariously.
    Fortunately, Nikon designed almost all the controls on the right side of most cameras (not i or info, but at least you don't tend to use those with your eye to the finder) so that you can use them with your hand on the grip. My concerns about the controls on the Df were because this no longer seemed to be true - although it took me a while to understand that some people like to set controls before raising the camera to their eye, in which case the layout makes more sense. I believe the main motivator behind the dual-dial layout introduced on the F5 (I think) was the understanding that the left hand is not free to change controls on the camera - or, indeed, the aperture ring.
    Nikon have fixed a few things. Manual ISO changes on the D700 were pretty much impossible - I spent my whole time in manual mode with auto-ISO. Aperture priority and auto-ISO could work with prime lenses, but since there was no fast way to change the minimum shutter speed to adjust for focal length, it was awkward on zooms. Fortunately the D700 doesn't gain much dynamic range at low ISO, so it didn't hurt much to be at ISO 800 accidentally. I emailed Nikon and requested both a program-shiftable focal-length-dependent minimum shutter speed on auto-ISO and the ability to map ISO to one of the buttons reachable by the right hand - I don't claim to have been responsible for these functions appearing in newer cameras (I'm sure plenty of others made the same suggestions), but I'm glad they did, and it would be hypocritical of me not to be grateful. Unfortunately, every time they make something easier to use right-handed, they move something (AF area, metering mode) to the left.
    If every lens was either tiny or for use on a tripod, I'd understand. My suspicion is that someone senior in Nikon's design team still shoots an F2 for pleasure. But Nikon have been increasing the size of most of their lenses. They put VR on them. People have been actively criticising Nikon's tripod mounts for the past decade. It's clearly expected that you're supposed to hand-hold the lenses. A really tiny lens, like a 45mm f/2.8, is moderately ridiculous even on a D810-sized camera; on a D4 it's worse - the body gets in the way of controlling the lens, and I'd argue it's not a good choice (even if your left hand wasn't inherently busy focussing the thing). The 14-24, 24-70 and 70-200 "pro set" that you're expected to used on the two-dial Nikons are all very front-heavy if you try to support them right-handed (and your left hand is busy on the zoom ring anyway). Other lenses? The Sigma 35mm and 50mm Art lenses, the 85mm f/1.8, the 150mm macro, 300mm f/4 - all front-heavy. The 200 f/2 comes with a warning not to support it from the camera mount. All are eminently hand-holdable (the only lens I have that I really can't hand-hold is a 500mm f/4 AI-P - and because it's manual focus, my left hand is a long way forward of the camera even when it's on a tripod). I've checked, and I can hand-hold a 400 f/2.8 just fine. So with the possible exception of my 8mm fish-eye, anything Nikon moves to the left side of the camera is a real pain for me with pretty much every lens I use.
    Some of us keep our previous cameras as back-up - we don't have the luxury of owning two current cameras, and hiring is inconvenient and expensive. I tried switching between my D700 and D800, and honestly the inverted +/- buttons drove me nuts every time I tried to review images - that was an instinct that it was really hard to override, more so because the handling was otherwise similar (give or take swapping the default dial directions, which can be overridden). Given a bit longer (because it wasn't in the original D800 firmware), the lack of ISO available from the right hand would have driven me nuts on the D700 too. Different cameras are always likely to have different controls, but I agree with Thom Hogan that some things seem to have been moved more than necessary. That said, the D800 to D810 switch was pretty painless except for the metering mode. Still, all the Nikons I've owned (bar my F5) are from the same point in the range. When I've handled a D600 or D750, it's definitely felt somewhat alien. Yes, I can still find the dials and shutter, but anything else would make me pause. For some reason the F5 is less hard to adapt to, possibly because there's nothing much to change. (Since mine came without a manual and I was used to consumer film cameras, it did take a while for me to get it open, though.)
    I'd expect to need to adapt significantly in moving from a D300 to a D7100. Perfectly possible, but not painless. Try one and see if there's anything you think you'd never adapt to. And I'm serious about a D800 in DX mode as an alternative - it's effectively a 16MP, 5fps (6 with a grip) DX camera with a similar AF system to the D300 and a big buffer, with a "sports finder" so you can see what's happening outside the captured frame. Unlike the D700, the D800's crop is big enough to be useful. Useful even if you have light and cheap(er) DX glass. The D800 is still slightly heavier than the D300, but only by 75g. I suspect the D7100 is a much more sensible option (and much lighter!), but I thought I'd mention the option. budget permitting.
  18. Long replies, i see. No, it's not a world of either tiny lenses or massive 3+ kg lenses. Impressive exaggerations though, you two. ;-)<br>Sure, there are some lenses that are so massive that they will break free from the camera when the camera mount is all that is supporting them. A few. With most lenses it is absolutely no problem to hold the camera by the right hand grip while adjusting something using the left hand. And should the lens be too heavy after all, hold it, instead of the camera, with your right hand while adjusting what you need to adjust with your left. The assumption that the right hand must be in 'shooting position', continously (as in: every second of every minute of every hour of every day) ready to react instantaneously should that fleeting only one chance of a lifetime photo opportunity suddenly present itself (how do you like my turn at exaggeration? ;-) ) is also not very realistic. We need to abandon that ever-ready grip on numerous occassions, to change lenses, wipe the front lens, scratch our noses or swat a mosquito without anything bad happening. Adjusting a wheel or pushing a button with the left hand is not the problem you guys make us believe it is.
  19. Q.G.: Really, I'm happy that your lens collection happens to be fine with a camera held by the right hand - clearly there are people for which Nikon's choices must work, or they wouldn't make them. My collection just isn't. When I first switched to Nikon, I got a 14-24, a 135 f/2 and - especially - a 150-500. All awkward to hold right-handed, and almost impossible with the 150-500. Now I have a 35mm and 50mm Art and an 85mm f/1.8. All pretty front-heavy. My 150 f/2.8, 70-200, 300 f/4, 200 f/2 are all difficult to impossible to support right-handed. Yes, I can crouch down to ground level and rest the camera on something so I can make a change - or rely precariously on a strap (or straps, for the 200 f/2). This takes time. It may not matter for landscapes (though light changes!) but it certainly does for wildlife, events or sports. The vast majority of my lenses need my left hand glued under them. I'm really not exaggerating - I own a 50mm f/1.8, which I admit I can use with the camera gripped by my right hand, but I barely use it. Pretty much everything else, it's a problem. And my 70-200 and 200 f/2 are among my most-used lenses.
    Why would the right hand not want to be in shooting position? Taking ISO as an example (which I appreciate got fixed half way through the D800 generation), why put it where you can only change it without the eye to the finder? Surely you need to be looking through the finder in order to set the ISO appropriately for the thing you're metering on? Why put the AF area selection by the lens mount? If I'm changing it, it's because it's inappropriate for the thing I'm in the process of trying to shoot. How can it possibly be better to design the camera so that you're unable to take a shot because you're changing something?
    There are people who like to minimise the time the eye is at the finder, especially for street shooting. Zone focus, set aperture and shutter speed in advance, and raise the camera only when you're ready to release. Great: that's perfectly valid, and the Df is for these people. The rest of us need to be looking through the finder to know where to focus and what the lighting conditions of the subject might be, and anything that slows this down is bad. Yes, I may have to take the camera away from my eye to scratch my nose, but that doesn't mean I'll be happy if I miss a shot because of it. (And yes, I partly missed a cheetah being sent down the run at San Diego Zoo once because I was playing with camera settings in a menu.)
    Mostly, I'm not asking Nikon to move their controls (again) - there are people who have complained that their right hands are overloaded, and that's fair enough. But I would like everything that you currently need the left hand to set to be an option for the programmable buttons on the right hand - a small matter of programming. (I wouldn't turn down "mode" and "info" being programmable either). Though if Nikon happened to move the AF mode selector to the right side of the mount so I could get at it with my right pinky, that would be welcome in my book.
    Adjusting a wheel or pushing a button with the left hand is not the problem you guys make us believe it is.​
    I'm sure Nikon's designers believe this for some reason. I assure you, it really, really is a problem. I'm not making it up.
    Or maybe I should just invent the fing-longer.
  20. I am grateful for the comments and advice, although the later ones might be something of tangential caprice! Obviously though, whether a particular camera feels 'right' in the hand is important. My D700 and D300 always felt right.
    What I didn't say in my first posting was that I have bought into the Fuji X series. The XT1 is a delightful camera, although I am having to adapt to using it. The simply fact that it is much smaller (and lighter) than my Nikons with the consequent 'tightening' of controls, does not make life easier for someone with big hands and fingers - I have.
    But it can produce some extremely good images. Yesterday, I used it indoors, poor available light, with the 35mm f1.4 at full aperture and a very high iso. I couldn't fault the results. Certainly as good as anything my Nikon 50mm 1.4 ever produced in similar circumstances, and that produced some superb images! I suspect that the XT1 will do at least as good, and perhaps better, than the D7100 in the iso stakes.
    I will now ponder about getting a D7100.
    Thanks to everyone for the help.
  21. I 100% agree with Dieter!
  22. I do think the user interface changes follow a continuum and are likely a result of discussions between designers and feedback from users. However, e.g. the D750/D610/D7200 follow their own line of development and the professional D4s/D810 type cameras their own (and even the professional cameras are different from each other, e.g. the D4s has no AF-L/AE-L button, and has a series of buttons near the bottom of the camera) and I believe they will continue to have differences as each camera is optimized for its intended user base's needs (whether successfully or not). I have always felt that one thing that Nikon does very well is the development of the controls and the usability of the camera especially of their mid to high end models. However, it seems there is strong disagreement here. ;-)
    Although wobbly tripod mounts have been plaguing Nikon long lenses for almost 15 years, there has been some recent improvement in the tripod mounts of several lenses and I think it is clear that in general they are starting to recognize the problem and are moving towards the right direction (the exception to the rule is the recent 80-400 tripod mount which is indeed very wobbly, however, the VR 200/2 II mount is fine for up to 1.4X as far as I'm concerned, and there are reports 400/2.8E that the mount of that lens is reinforced). Also the EFCS in the D810 is indicative that they now recognize that someone might want to use a telephoto to photograph a static subject in low light which obviously the designers did not consider a possible application in the past. ;-) I can't say why the wobbly collars appeared in the first place - my solution is not to accept them but avoid those models and use something that does work (in some cases a third party product can help). But Nikon's lack of attention to tripod collars is not a suggestion to use the lenses hand held - it's more that they consider the long lenses primarily used for action (wildlife, sports or photojournalism) and fast shutter speeds are needed to get sharp results of active subjects with telephoto lenses in practice; the quality of the tripod collar does not greatly affect the results if the shutter speed is 1/500s or faster. The function of the tripod mount of the lens is to hold the weight of the lens and camera and allow the photographer to work without having to support the weight of the camera+lens. Also there are many switches mainly on the left hand side of these lenses (six + buttons at the front) which can be accessed easily when the lens is supported by a tripod or monopod. The whole user interface of these lenses is designed with tripod or monopod use in mind. Also when I see these lenses in use by professional photographers, they are usually supported at least by a monopod if not a tripod. It would be difficult to move all the lens switches and the left hand side camera controls (and the ones at the bottom of the back of the D3/D4 series cameras) to reside all on the right side of the camera body and this area would be highly cluttered. Finally the 99.9% of Nikon DSLR users who don't use huge lenses (let alone hand hold them) would have a difficult time accepting those user interface changes even if some individuals who like to use huge lenses hand held would prefer them.
    My experience is that 200mm is easy enough to hand hold (the shutter speed with the f/2 can usually be set very high), with a small 300mm (the f/4 PF) hand holding is also easy if one is not too critical but an 300mm f/2.8 is already more comfortable to use on a tripod or monopod, and with a 400mm focal length, the detrimental effects of hand holding are plainly evident on the resulting sharpness - the improvement using a tripod with a 400mm lens are quite apparent even at small to medium display/pring sizes. Also it is not that comfortable or easy to hand hold a 400mm so that the composition is precisely controlled and repeatable from shot to shot (try it if you don't believe me, make a sequence of 10 shots and see how much the composition varies). While there are some wildlife photographers who now say a 500/4 IS II is a hand-held lens (and that tripods are supposely not useful) when looking at their work the impact of that decision to hand hold is usually plainly evident in the resulting image quality.
    I think that the distribution of camera and lens controls along the surfaces accessible by one of the hands is the best approach for ease of control of the cameras (in fact many users prefer to use both hands, including myself) and it would not fly well if everything were cramped in one place near the shutter release. I think the hand holders of huge lenses will simply have to get used to the fact that it is in some ways inconvenient to do so.
  23. Appreciating that this is all off topic for Mervyn, but hoping we've answered his question and can continue with a clear conscience...

    I don't claim that Nikon's interface is bad as such (or I'd have switched systems!) - particularly, I like that the front and rear dials can be used while the camera is firmly gripped, and the front dial is under the middle finger while the index finger is on the shutter. Canon (from which I switched) require significant movement of the right thumb to use the rear dial, and the front dial is under the index finger, moving that finger off the shutter when it's in use. Of course, that means they have a little more finesse in the front dial and infinite rotation of the rear dial - each has its merits. I just claim that there are some things that Nikon could have positioned more conveniently.

    I was being facetious with my comment on lens tripod foot quality - and yes, I'm grateful that they seem to be getting better. Nonetheless, I regularly use a 200 f/2 and a range of other lenses that I certainly support with my left hand under the body of the lens (which I'm reasonably confident is not unusual), whereas my tripod use is relatively infrequent, because I need mobility. Even using a monopod, I'd still have one hand on the 'pod or the lens above it - holding it from the back of the camera would still be a lot of cantilever as it started to go sideways. The controls on the lens I use infrequently, but when I do, I can reach them while still holding the lens, just moving my left thumb - at least I don't have to rest the lens on something. Yes, I can reach the back of the camera easily while using my 500mm on its gimbal mount, in as much as I'm not supporting the lens, but I need my hand on that lens to focus it, so that doesn't help.

    I'd be happy to accept this as a rare problem if it was only my 200 f/2 and 500mm manual focus we were talking about. It's not. I have pretty much the same left-hand grip - give or take moving along the lens axis - on all my lenses. On any zoom, your left hand is busy on the zoom. On any AF-S lens, you left hand is potentially busy with manual-focus override. On any shot not using external camera support, your left hand is holding the camera and lens steady. Unless you're using Joe McNally's over-the-shoulder grip, but then you're going to have even more trouble. Even if you could move your left hand, changing any control on top of the camera is going to require reaching past your forehead to do it. Or under your chin if you're in portrait orientation.

    With smaller lenses (where supporting the weight without your left hand isn't a problem), you can just take the camera away from the eye. It may be there anyway, if you're in the Df "set up the camera before you raise it to your eye" mindset. But while you're doing that, you're potentially missing a shot. Especially if you were making a change that you wanted to make in a hurry, such as metering mode ("uh-oh, my subject has just stepped into direct sunlight") or AF mode ("damn, I can't hold the AF point steady on this bird that's flying past").

    And I have no wish to trouble those who would find a right-hand-only camera to be overloading. You can leave the controls on the left, and keep everyone who likes this position (there must be people, I don't think it's just Ilkka and the Nikon engineers). I'd just like it to be possible to map the same controls to the buttons that are already programmable on the right of the camera. I wouldn't say no to another couple as well - my right pinky is currently under-used (something Canon seem to be able to handle on the 1Dx, although possibly without quite the programmability I'd like). I've mentioned that remapping "mode", or i, or info, or (if I could swap it with another control whose button I don't need to reach while my eye is to the finder) LV, would all allow me to do things without taking my finger off the shutter. That wouldn't require any new hardware, just a firmware tweak, and it might stop me missing shots.

    Nikon did allow ISO to be remapped to the movie record button after I (and presumably others) ranted at them, which is great. I'd just like them to do the same with AF area and metering mode, both of which used to be on the right hand on older cameras. It would make an already good camera range even better. So not a complaint, a constructive feature request. Although since, the way things are going, I'm half expecting Nikon to move the shutter to the top left of the camera as well (even Rolleiflexes don't do that), it'll be a complaint if things get much worse!
  24. Thank you, Illka, for those words about tripod use.<br>Far too many people do indeed think that a tripod is not usefull, yet waste impressive amounts of money on lenses that never get a chance to deliver what they are capable of because of that silly i'm-tough-so-i-don't-need-no-stinkin'-tripod attitude.<br><br>Re left hand controls: again, do not exagerate! There is no need to have the camera ready every second of every minute of hour of every day. You might miss a shot... Really... Wouldn't you agree then, Andrew, our bodies, the weather, life in general and everything else is in dire need of a redesign, because the present design might make us miss a shot?<br>There is nothing wrong with left hand controls.<br><br>And to combine the two themes: lenses that can be handheld do indeed not need two hands on the camera all the time. Lenses that can't be held with one hand while the other operates a dial or button need to be on a tripod.<br>If you think there is a third option, one that allows hand holding a lens requiring both of your hands all of the time, you are missing quite a few shots even though you think you got them 'in the can'.<br><br>Or, in short: it's all in the mind.
  25. Andrew - there is no need for an apology. I've been a member of this forum for long enough to recognise that tangential caprices are quite normal.
    To move away from Nikon has been a great wrench, but I will keep my D300 and a couple of lenses for now. I've just ordered the Fuji 56mm f1.2 for my XT1. It is said to be superb in image quality terms, and at a fraction of the price of a Nikon 'equivalent'. Fuji products have also a very nice 'feel' to them. The sort of attribute that Nikon had some years ago. However, I have to admit that my big fingers and small tight controls are something of a challenge. But at least I can put two bodies, three lenses and a flash gun in quite a small bag and not droop at one shoulder!
  26. Mervyn: Thank you for sympathising with the hijack! I feel bad if we divert before we've actually resolved a problem, but it sounds as though you've got a good solution. I'm curious about the 56mm f/1.2 myself (especially the APD version, which is more what I wanted the 135 f/2 DC to be), and have heard good things. Best of luck with it.

    Q.G.: My reason for not (often) using a tripod is that I need mobility in framing candids, not that I don't think they're useful. I have a RRS TVC-34L and an Arca d4 - and I'm not so flush that I could get these irrespective of need. I just can't use them for the majority of what I shoot. (When I need them, I really need them.)

    I struggle to see the benefit of a design which can make you miss a shot when there is an alternative (particularly software-only!) that would not. My body is absolutely in need of a redesign, not only from the point of view of photography, but the time and energy cost of doing so is beyond what I'm willing to pay at this point. Would I, similarly, buy a new Nikon solely for improved controls? Doubtful. Would it encourage me to upgrade rather than skipping a generation? Absolutely. Handling was a big motivation in my D800e to D810 upgrade.

    I don't need the camera to be ready every second of the day - I need it to be ready when I'm prepared to take the shot and conditions change. If I have to take the camera away from my eye - and sometimes rest it on the ground - because the AF mode or metering (I'd add white balance if I didn't shoot raw) is incorrect for the subject I'm tracking, the subject will be gone by the time I've made the change. I'm an amateur; if I miss a shot of a lifetime, it's just annoying, not something that impacts my livelihood (other than buying camera gear). The current controls clearly aren't terrible, because I'm using them and haven't switched to another body. That's not the same as there being "nothing wrong with" them. They clearly have a usability deficiency for the case I'm talking about, and "I never want to do that so you can't have a problem" isn't really a valid argument - just as, now I understand why people want one (I think), I'm not going to tell someone who's lusting after a Df that they should buy a modern camera instead. :)

    Let's say there are three classes of lens, for the purposes of this discussion:
    • There are some lenses that allow the camera to be supported by the right hand in a relatively normal position, allowing the left hand to make reasonably fast adjustments. Let's say a 50mm f/1.8. To make an adjustment using the top-left controls, I can remove my left hand from its normal, stable grip, reach for the top of the camera, assume I'm practised enough to do this without needing to take my eye from the finder, make a change, and take a shot with the camera supported only by the right hand (with whatever impact that has on sharpness). Unless I'm holding the camera in portrait mode, in which case I have to reorient the camera so I can actually reach the controls past my chin(s). I understand that, possibly, the inconvenience of doing this may, for some people, be less than the extent to which they don't like an overloaded right hand. Not me - I'm a respectably fast typist and can vaguely play a piano, and I can even work the interlocks on an F5 - I don't have a problem with independent finger control.
    • There are some lenses that cannot be stably (or comfortably) held in position by the right-hand grip while the left hand is fumbling on the top of the camera. Even pressing the camera to my face, I don't have sufficiently prehensile eyebrows to stabilise that combination. Let's take the 70-200 f/2.8 as a reasonably indisputable example. Yes, you can take one-handed images (and with an 80-200, I have, in order to shoot over a crowd), but unless you've got a forearm like Popeye, I doubt you'll have accurate framing, let alone a blur-free shot. I'm not worried about the lens snapping the mount (the 80-200 didn't come with a tripod collar, it was supposed to be cantilevered), but my biomechanics would be a problem. I'd put the 150mm Sigma macro, the 135 f/2 DC, the 300mm f/4 and the 150-500 in this category. Borderline between this category and the previous one are pretty much everything I shoot with, from the Sigma Art lenses to the 14-24. Mostly for those I can hold the camera with only mild discomfort (especially if I'm not trying to use any right-hand buttons - like AF-On - at the time), but not really as stably as I'd like, and I'd rather not in a long shoot. My right hand is trying to finesse the controls, not tire itself out with a power grip that I can't maintain for a day's shooting.
    • There are some lenses that cannot be supported at all by the right hand. I strongly suspect the new -600mm zooms are in this category; the 200mm f/2 certainly is (as has been mentioned, the manual says don't lift it by the camera). Certainly anything bigger, from the supertelephoto range. While tracking a subject, there is no alternative but to stop whatever you're doing and find another way to support the camera (whether by a strap on a lens or resting on something) while you adjust the controls. These are exactly the lenses for which you tend to be tracking a dynamic subject, and don't want to be interrupted.
    I don't buy for any of these that, during shooting, it is better to control the camera via controls on the top left of the body than it is to have the same controls mapped to the right side where the right hand can already reach the controls with the grip, and don't need to look to see what you're changing. The critical bit is "during shooting". If you enjoy wandering around, seeing the world around you, waiting for photo opportunities; then when you see one, you adjust the camera, raise it to your eye just for the final framing and take the shot, before continuing with your day - controls on the top left are absolutely fine. For you, I don't want to get rid of them. If you've set the camera up on a tripod so you have a relatively free left hand (which is not using controls on the lens), I also believe that you can train yourself to use these controls, with the disadvantages only of them being awkward when in portrait mode and that in landscape mode, you're blocking your left eye (maybe that's a price you're willing to pay to avoid overloading the right hand). But if you're shooting a subject that is moving, waiting for the exact timing of your shot, anything that takes you away from being able to make that shot is a bad thing. If you're supporting the camera yourself, that's going to happen. Even if you're using a tripod, that's probably going to happen - I've really not seen many pros using a speed graphic grip even when their lens is supported.

    Lenses that "can be hand held" don't need two hands on the camera all the time, but they do need two hands in place for a stable grip when shooting, including changing settings during shooting. Show me someone who is shooting with their left hand "free" to adjust the top left controls (and not using external support) and I suspect I'll show you someone without a very stable grip on the camera.

    There are lenses that, practically, do need to be on a tripod. The 2000mm f/11, perhaps. Probably the 1200-1700mm f/5.6-f/8. Even the Canon 1200mm f/5.6, or the 1000mm f/6.3 refractor that Aperture UK had (still have?) in their window. For most people, the 300-800mm Sigmonster, the 600mm f/4 and 800mm f/5.6 lenses from Canon and Nikon, and the Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 Sigzooka. There are plenty of lenses that will be much more comfortable and give better results (to a greater or less extent) used on a tripod - even my 500 f/4 AI-P is one of those.

    But there are also a lot of shots that you can get only with a large lens, but also only while being able to move around (not just pan). I hand-hold my 200 f/2 a lot (and also the 70-200, obviously). It lets me capture people in quite dim conditions while blurring an ugly background. Sure, I may get better technical sharpness by using a flash gun and a tripod and by asking everyone to hold very still while I set up. But - especially with VR and the fact that it's really quite hard to shake a 3kg lens even if you're trying - I'd rather get a pretty acceptably sharp image (even on a D800, as below) by being able to be in the right place to frame it than get a tack sharp technical masterpiece of a still life in daylight. So no, a tripod isn't always "the right" solution, and a shot isn't necessarily any more "missed" than it would be if I'd not been able to get into the right place to take it because I was tied to three extra legs. I certainly don't want to need a tripod just to adjust the controls when I use a 70-200 f/2.8.

    This isn't a catastrophic user interface issue. It's a niggle. But it's a niggle that's not particularly rare (it applies to all of my kit, under common circumstances, so it's Chinese water torture rather than a red hot paperclip under the fingernails). It's easy to fix (software only), and it wouldn't hurt anyone (I'm not talking about removing the top left controls for those who want them - that area is dead to me anyway). I'm a perfectionist - when I see something inconvenient, I try to work out how to improve it, which includes finding out (in fora like this) whether anyone agrees with my assessment and sees a problem with the solution. Hopefully, if there are only upsides to this, the message will eventually filter back to Nikon - or they'll eventually produce a camera with open firmware so that geeks like me could actually fix it ourselves. Claiming that there can't possibly be a problem, that missing shots is just part of life, that nobody in their right mind would hand-hold the most common press lenses around, and that the existing mechanism is perfect - is all very zen, but not a way to improve things.
  27. The use of the word "catastrophic" is fitting, Andrew. There is too much of this 'catastrophizing' going on in internet forums like this one. Things such as that you will miss the most important shot in the world if you have to move your left hand for a moment.<br>And a lot of denial too. The fact that you can get sharp enough shots handheld doesn't mean that your rate of really sharp shots doesn't go up considerably when you do not handhold.<br>There is also reality. Reality, in which you move your left hand a lot, do lots of things with your right hand too, in which you do not even have the camera glues to your eyes. In which you happen to be in the U.S. when the opportunity of a lifetime presents itself in europe, and vice versa. And in which you may miss a shot or two, but also get more than you miss. Etcetera. And in which the placement of a meter mode button on the left is (as you acknowledge - which is noted and appreciated) not the biggest worry.<br>And yes, of course: in that reality it is not always possible to use a tripod. I know that all too well. I have taken a gamble many times, for instance in gale force winds on deck of a heaving ship (literally) pounding the waves, on which you wouldn't use a tripod even in calm weather and a flat sea because of the many vibrations travelling through the metal structure anyway. Sometimes you get lucky.<br>The placement of that left hand control? A worry?! ;-)
  28. So glad no one brought up the worrisome issue of the missing left-handed camera (some ten percent of the population after all is left-handed) - we'd all be worried then about the right hand having too much to do and there would be endless back-and-forth about the placement of controls on the right of the camera! And which hand would then be used to manipulate the lens switches? A whole new layer of complexity would enter into the arguments - in particular if another worrisome problem might make an appearance - left-eyed vs right-eyed shooting. Would it be better for left-eyed shooters to use a left-handed camera even if the person is right handed? Wouldn't that result in "freedom" for the nose? And the absence of "catastrophic" changes made by its contact with the multi pad?
    Then - ballhead with left-handed controls - imagine the possible worries. Left-threaded tripod legs. Left-threaded screw-clamps. An entire mirror-imaged universe...

    It's all so easy folks: the right side is the right side and the left side is the wrong side. Or something like that. Maybe just a case of the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing - or vice versa.
  29. Dieter, i can't agree. If there would be such a thing as a left-hand camera (and ditto lenses), surely some left handed photographers would moan about some control being moved to the right side. No new layer. Same old same old.<br><br>All camera are made for noseless people. No matter whether they are left or right eyed. A much more important issue, that. When is the industry going to do something about that?
  30. This post has been up for a while so I thought I'd chime in a couple thoughts of reality, especially about upgrading from a D300 to a full frame body. First, there is no upgrade from the D300 which is a rugged, cropped frame, pro grade, 8 FPS with grip, large buffer (sort of), sports camera. If that's your shooting style, you'll have to move to Canon. Sorry Nikonians. (I'n one also.) I didn't need the rugged part so I added a couple 12 FPS, Sony A77IIs to my photographic tool kit, with Sony lenses of course. If sports is not your primary concern, and you want a cropped frame body, either the D7100 or D7200 bodies are outstanding, providing more dynamic range than anything else on the market. This is really important if you are shooting images with a lot of dark and light content in the same image. Finally, cropped frame and full frame are very different creatures. You just can't go from one to the other with out affecting your personal style. I use both together. In a recent trip to Iceland, I used a FF D810 with 24-105 for large landscape images and a CF D7100 with 17-70 for more personal, close-up, and difficult images. At first, it appears that I am just duplicating my equipment coverage, but the cropped frame body has more depth of field and I achieve a larger percentage of keepers, especially since my technique doesn't have to be quite as precise in difficult shooting conditions. The rest of the time I used my iPhone.
  31. Michael, you can lighten your load and ditch the cropped frame body. It does not have more depth of field. That's a misconception.<br>Besides, any FF body is a cropped frame body if and when you want it too be.
  32. Q.G...Yes, I've read that a cropped frame body doesn't have more depth of field but if I am trying to take a picture of the exact same scene covering the exact same elements in the image with a full frame, cropped frame, and iPhone, why does the iPhone have the greatest depth of field (tiny sensor), the CF body is second, and the FF is great for blurring a background or foreground. My reference is from "in-the-field" experience, not testing. I am shooting my cropped frame body with a 17-70 macro lens I can get images with very close-up subject elements that I simply can't get with my D810. I've tried many times. In fact, on my trip to Iceland, I only used my D810 with this type of image for the first 2 days and have regretted that decision. After reviewing my images, I immediately reverted back to CF for those types of images. I view camera and lens combos (different sensor sizes) as tools with very different capabilities (based on my shooting style) and view the CF body critical for both for nature and sports.
  33. "Tiny"is the key word. Depth of field depends on three things: ,agnification. f-stop and how sharp the sharpest bit in the photo is anyway.<br>Low magnification (smaler image projected on a smaller sensor) will have more DoF. That however is negated when you enlarge the image later to the same size as that of, say, a FF sensor: it"s the final magnification - relation between real-life-size to image-you-look-at size - that counts.<br>While the unshaprness gets magnified and becomes more apparent, the sharness does not incrase with magnification. So the difference between sharp and unsharp does not increase with magnification. The resolution of a photo taken with an iPhone cannot match the resolution of a crop frame of FF camera. So when you enlarge it, the difference between the unsharp bits and the supposedly sharp bit still remains lower that it would when using a DX or FF camera. So though not as sharp, more apparent sharpness, i.e. more DoF.<br><br>In the case you described however, the important bit is that any FF sensor also is a DX sensor. You just have to crop away the extra bit. So what you use your DX camera for can also be had using the FF camera. No need to carry both.<br>If you can't (and i do apologize for it sounding rather harsh) you really do need to see what you are doing wrong. Because it is you, not the camera, that is the cause of your disappointment. And (since it is so simple - both in theory and practice - that there is really nothing in the camera that could cause this) my first thought would be that the cause lies with your expectations, somehow not recognizing what you get, even though you did get the same as you would have using the DX camera, because you know that it wasn't the DX camera you used. Bias.
  34. I already knew that I would lose this argument but I was so extremely happy with my images from my Iceland trip and several trips before that (using my current equipment strategy), I felt brave enough to venture forward and offer a few thoughts that really work for me. After all, isn't the entire objective of photography to "get-the-shot". I carry 3 combos with me on all trips, a D810 with 24-105, a D7100 with 17-70 macro, and a Sony A77II with 70-400. Based on my experience after taking over 100,000 images in the field, and I was forced to get rid of one body, it would easily be the D810 and it's the best body I own. I just think that advanced amateurs like myself shouldn't think that full frame is the holy grail.

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