Should I downgrade from my Nikon D300 to D2x?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by michael_scharf, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Should I downgrade from my Nikon D300 to the D2x? Sounds like a strange question but here are more details. I currently shoot about 15 Bar Mitzvahs a year with my D300, 18-200 VR and SB-900. I also own am 80-200 zoom but hardly get to use it because of the crop factor. I was looking to get the D700 but the price is just too much for me right now. In order to get use out of my 80-200 and expand my lens inventory, I was thinking of an easy and inexpensive way to move to full frame. I am also assuming that in the next year or two DX will be for consumer bodies but all pro bodies will be FX. I already have the 80-200 pro lens so all I will need is something like the 28-70. Iā€™m a strong believer that the lens is the most important and not so much the body. Since I rarely use the camera in comparison to the real pros would it be a big mistake to downgrade? I found a seller of the D2x with only 2,000 actuations for about $900. Am I making a mistake? Thanks for all your help.
  2. The D2X is a DX camera. Wait, after re-reading your post I now understand that you`re not currently looking for a FX camera but for a downgrade... to save money?
  3. Oh shoot. I thought it was a full frame. I'm sorry for the error.
  4. D2x from a D300 would be a downgrade in serveral areas including
    - AF Speed
    - Dynamic Range
    - Weight
    - ISO Performance
    Do I really need to go on?
    Plus you don't get full frame - that came with the D3 series...
    When it came out the D300 was equal to or exceeded the D2x in almost every area that pro photographers care about - I'd only buy a D2x as a backup or an add to my collection - not as a primary body and not at $900.00
  5. Aaah. It makes sense, now.
    BTW, cameras are also important, not only lenses. Sensors are continuosly improved, and cannot be switched between cameras as it is with film... noise, resolution, dynamic range, color, sensivity, etc. use to be inherent to each camera model and have influence on the final result.
    Using film, the only difference could lie on lenses; there is no media difference between a e.g. a F5, a Nikonos or a FM10. Now this affirmation has turned to be a myth when we`re talking about digital.
  6. I apologize to all of you for wasting your time. I did not realize that the D2x is also DX. I am on a budget but no reason to downgrade if I won't be getting FX. Thanks for the help and next time I'll do my research before posting.
  7. If you really want cheap full-frame, there's the Kodak DCS Pro 14n, if you can find one on eBay. I'm mildly tempted to pick one up myself, as a backup to my D700 (for very good lighting conditions only). It'd be a pretty painful step back from a D300, though.
  8. The DCS cameras are useless for events, however. Totally. Slow response, bad and old battery technology... It's a great landscape or studio camera if you can find a great bargain on one, but it is a klunky piece. Keep in mind that it's been discontinued for at least 5 years.
    The AF and the response of the camera are way behind what you need for an event. You will get WAY better results from even a D90 today. There is a reason that Kodak got out of that market.
  9. If you found a buyer for your D300 body, and a buyer for your AF-S 18-200mm VR Nikkor lens; and if you have little money earned from 15 events you have shot, the Nikon D700 body (if refurbished or used,) would make event shooting much better. Add in a AF 35mm f2D Nikkor lens, along with a AF 50mm lens (f1.4D, or f1.8D) -- and the high ISO quality of the D700 will work for you.
    What to do with your 80-200 f2.8 lens is another matter. Good for sports, but indoor shooting?
  10. an 80-200 is LOTS of use for an event in a large room.
    However, Jerry's suggestion doesn't include a mid-range zoom. An event like a bar mitzvah or a wedding without a mid-range zoom in this day and age would be a nightmare imho.
    Looking again at your list. I think if you replaced your 18-200 with a Tamron 17-50 you would have a much better lens for an event. You can sell an 18-200 for around the cost of the 17-50 without Image Stabilization, or put a few more bucks in and get one with. That is something to consider.
    Depending on how your photos are used, you may very well just not need FX at all. 8 x 10 and smaller, hand-held event pics? I wouldn't think there's a huge difference, maybe none to all intents and purposes.
  11. I have heard that the D2X has superior flash performance, but I don't know why.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To the OP, if you are serious about shooting events and parties, get rid of the 18-200 DX, which is a great lens for casual travel photography. Indoors, f5.6 should casuse you all sorts of problems including focusing. I would get an f2.8 mid-range zoom instead.
  13. The Kodak Pro SLRn would be a good introduction to full frame. It is an extremely capable camera and quite able to keep up with event shooting, heck, I have used mine for motorsports and soccer. It has a slower processer than a D2X or D300 and takes a little getting used to, but still, as mentioned, quite capable. I would not pay more than $800 for one though. has one for $725.
  14. So if you're not using your 80-200 would you be willing to part ways with it?
  15. Then, with FX, your 18-200 mm zoom becomes useless. That is a hard and super expensive lens range to duplicate in full frame.
  16. The D300 has better color and ISO capability than the D2x. You would be disappointed with the loss of image quality.
    If you aren't using the 80-200, consider selling it and getting a 70-200 VRI. The ability use a long lens without a tripod makes all the difference in the world. Furthermore, it is two stops faster than the 18-200, sharper and faster to use. If you have the AFS version of the 80-200, you can get more than you paid for it at auction. It is much sharper than the 70-200 for use with full frame cameras. When it's time, trade up to a 70-200 VRII.
  17. If you shoot for money you must have a backup of everything you absolut need to complete the job. What else are you going to say to the client when something breaks? Sorry, could we reshoot your once-in-a-lifetime-event some other day after Nikon have repaired my camera?
    So first priority should be a backup body, a backup lens and a backup flash.
  18. When you stop and think about it, the crop factor is very kosher.
  19. I could clarify - as Peter said, I wouldn't seriously recommend the Kodak for event photography (just going on the DPReview coverage - I've never used one). It's too slow, and not good enough in low light. I was just reminding you that it existed if, for some reason, you really wanted full-frame. I'm only considering one because my main body is a D700 and I'd kind of like a back-up body (other than my F5) that has the same coverage. I think I was under the impression they went for a lot less than $800 these days, though.

    Allan - The D2x and D2h support both d-TTL (flip the mirror up, measure pre-flash light bouncing off the shutter before the shutter opens) as well as i-TTL (measure the pre-flash with the normal exposure meter before moving the mirror) modes. Nikon introduced d-TTL with their first digital cameras (since normal TTL metering off the film doesn't work with a sensor) and i-TTL came in with the D2 series and is used for everything later. The D2 series are the only things that work with both, but it's only really a benefit if you have a flash that's older than the i-TTL ones (but new enough to do d-TTL); supposedly i-TTL is almost always much more reliable, except possibly if you need the preflash to happen very quickly (say within 1/250 of a second rather than 1/10 of a second) before the exposure. I think that's the only advantage to the D2x's flash handling compared with the newer cameras;I'd be surprised if it's a selling point for many people. There's some detail on the description of the TTL flash system, here.
  20. I shoot the occasional britot and bar/bat-mitzva, and I use the 80-200 for instance, for the all important speeches. Instead of getting up there right in front, I stand a bit the to side and back, or in the middle, but also back, and shoot away. Also for candids. And it's such a great lens. And because you use flash at these events, you don't need the VR. I use it for maybe 10% of the shots, but those 10% are all "must need to get" shots.
    You really do need the 17-55 2.8. Before I got it I read a zillion times that for events with a DX it's the lens to get. And I too join the flock and say it's worth the cash - you can find them used for 8-900. Try the buy sell forums on site N. I use it for almost everything. Keep the 18-200 for backup. And get a small side bag to hold the 80-200 while moving around. It's a great combo. I do hate the lack of the 55-120 range though, so sometimes I need to be fast on my feet, but I have a 50mm 1.8 for the critical portraits (FX lens that give me 75mm on my D90).
  21. Thank you all for contributing. I think I am going to stick with my D300 although I still feel that the market is moving to FX. Just the fact that there is only one pro f2.8 lens for the DX format shows that Nikon isn't sure either. If I only want to use pro glass I am forced to use the 17-55 but then have a large gap to my 80-200. What do others do? I don't feel comfortable walking around with two cameras at an affair.
  22. Just the fact that there is only one pro f2.8 lens for the DX format shows that Nikon isn't sure either.​
    I think you read too much into that. For longer lenses, designing only for DX is less interesting since the lens will not be that much smaller. The only gap would be a f/2.8 wide angle, though the Nikon 12-24 f/4 should have near pro build quality.
    And even if the market moves somewhere - it doesn't mean you have to move too. Nikon will support DX for some serious time to come, since its installed base is manifold larger than FX. They cannot just abandon it.
    The gap between 55 and 80 - I think you won't miss it. Check in your current photos EXIF data how many shots are made at that length. It's a bit no man's land.
  23. @ Andrew -- many thanks for the info on flash -- I've got a lot to learn here and really appreciate the help -- since I got my DSLR I've noticed I often get overexposed pictures when I use fill flash. This is because I use aperture priority and like narrow d-o-f. Using flash forces a slower shutter speed and thus the picture is horribly overexposed. Rats! I don't remember having this problem with my film camera. Back then we had 25, 50, 64, and 100 ASA. Now, my DSLR is 200 ASA. I guess I could put a ND filter on it, but it would be nice to have lower base ISO.
    Back to my original comment, I got it wrong on the D2X. Apparently it was a D1X. In Graham Watson's book "Tour de France Travel Guide" on page 291, he states "I also use a Nikon D1X body for specific shots with fill flash, usually on mountain stages, as I find the results much better than those with the D3." Researching the D1X, it has a sync speed of 1/500, which is 1 stop better than my D90. Apparently the D1X has horrible battery issues.
    I remember from my film days that Graham used to use a medium-format camera when he used fill flash because it had a focal-plane shutter, and could therefore do 1/500s. Shooting sports with medium format... wow, crazy!
    So that raises an interesting question: how did Nikon achieve 1/500s with the D1x? and how could they do it for future digital bodies?
  24. Hi Allan. Glad to help - although don't mistake me for an expert, I'm just someone who reads too many photography web sites. Regarding overexposure, does your flash have an fp mode? (You may have to enable it in the camera - on a D700 it's an option if you hold the flash release and roll one of the wheels.) If so, this fires the flash repeatedly at low power, which means the restriction on the shutter speed (to the speed at which the shutter blades are completely open so the whole sensor receives the flash) goes away. You may know that anyway, and an ND might be the only answer if this reduces the flash power too much to balance the scenery, but I thought I'd mention it in case you've not tried it.

    The D1 series, D70, D40, etc. had an electronic shutter in addition to the mechanical one. The circuitry involved apparently reduces photosite area available, which would reduce the high-ISO capability of the sensor. I doubt they'll reintroduce it, because low noise at high ISO is such a selling point. It was discussed recently here.

    The medium format with the fast fill flash will probably be because it doesn't have a focal plane shutter (or has the option not to use one exclusively) - a focal plane shutter is what SLRs have. Some medium format cameras support lenses with a leaf shutter (in the lens), which has much less far to move than a focal plane shutter, especially on medium format; this means it can completely open (so you can use the flash) and close the shutter faster than a focal-plane device, giving you a faster flash sync speed. I suspect - with limited medium format experience - you need both types of shutter to be synchronised if you still want TTL metering to work and have SLR composition/autofocus, which makes it a complex specialty item. Hence medium format bodies can cater to it, but since 99% of SLR shooters will never care, I doubt there'll be a lot of support any time soon from the popular manufacturers who don't need the complexity. Someone will now prove me wrong by telling me that there's a really popular 135 format leaf shutter lens for DSLRs...
  25. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  26. Andrew - thanks again for the help
    I finally read my manuals in detail. Apparently the D90 does have an "auto FP on" mode that allows faster shutter speeds. It is turned off by default. Why??? So, if I turn it on, I should get good fill flash performance. I'll go try some test shots later today.
    I also read up on commander mode. It sounds like I can use the pop-up flash as fill and also have it trigger my D600 remotely. That's great! With a few simple light modifiers, I can probably now do paramount, rembrandt, etc. lighting in the field. Sounds like time for more test shots. The commander mode sounds confusing anyway, so I'll need some practice.
  27. Allan - glad to help (not that I'm an expert, especially with flash photography). I suspect "auto FP" is turned off by default because you don't get full flash power, and people might start wondering why their posh flash can't reach as far as usual (which could be a problem if you think the flash is set up right, then tweak the shutter speed). Or it may just be because not all flashes support it. Best of luck with it, anyway - it sounds like you're about to have fun with a load more creative opportunities!
  28. I have a D1X and a D2X, but comparing them to a much newer camera is not really fair. Plus comparing a good top consumer camera against a pro camera is not even gonna be close. And you will still pay close to 1000 dollars for a used D2X and most photographers will tell you not to downgrade in that way anyhow... And actually if you downgrade your camera, you can pretty much bet you are going to downgrade your ability andquality. Except in the case of downgrading to a pro camera, but if you don't know the uses of all teh features, then its pretty much useless to do so.
    You would best benefit from putting the larger bulk of your money into UPGRADING your lenes to "Prime" lenses. Get away from the "consumer "G" lens and you will be shocked at the difference from the same camera.

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