What am I missing with FX + DX combo

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by sandeep_kumar|10, Jun 19, 2016.

  1. Hi - I am heading out to a vacation to NYC and Orlando early next month. Have the following gear:

    Travel pack:

    D750, D500, Nikon 28mm f/1.8G (42mm equivalent on D500), Nikon 85mm f/1.4G (127mm equivalent on D500), Nikon 300mm PF VR f/4 (450mm equivalent on D500)

    Leaving behind at home:

    Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6

    I used to own Nikon 70-200mm VR1 until about a year ago, had sold it due to its weight when carrying it on vacation - but I do miss the
    flexibility it provides.


    1) Is it reasonable to believe that with FX+DX bodies and the three lenses I will carry, I will be able to cover most of my needs - family
    photos, museums, few clicks of birds where possible, street photos. 35mm f/1.4 is on rebate currently, so tempted to get it and sell the

    2) Any insights on when Nikon might update Nikon 70-200mm VR2 with a newer version, I have been waiting for the newer version for a
    while, and don't mind waiting on, but would be great to have some idea how long.

  2. I'm sure it's possible but you'd probably have to do complicated lens/body switching when a new situation or subject arises. It's impossible to know when Nikon might introduce the successor to the current VR 70-200/2.8 II, but Nikon has a couple of technologies they may want to put on it as soon as possible (electromagnetic aperture and fluorine coating); furthermore the current 70-200/2.8 got a lot of criticism for its significant loss of focal length at 200mm setting when focused to close distances - this is something Nikon may want to change based on the customer requests. Maybe 1-3 years?
  3. The lenses and bodies you plan to take will handle a wide variety of situations, particularly on a vacation, but there are some things you might want to consider. An important reason for carrying two camera is backup. With one DX and one FX camera, such backup requires more lenses, which is something you might not want on a trip. For example, if your FX camera breaks, your 28mm will not give you a very wide field of view; if your DX camera breaks, your 85mm will give you a working distance which you might not prefer. Finally, using the D750 and D500 together may annoy you because they have different user interfaces: the D750 handles similarly to a D7100 or D7200, while a D500 handles more like a D800. None of these issues are fatal.
    If it were me, I wouldn't trade the 28mm f/1.8 for a 35mm f/1.4. Since you won't be taking anything wider, the 35mm wouldn't be wide enough (but that's me). Also, with those two bodies, which work well in low light, the slightly faster speed of the 35mm isn't very important. You have to decide for yourself what you prefer.
    As Ilkka said, it's impossible to know (unless you work for Nikon, which case you won't tell) when the 70-200mm f/2.8 will be updated.
  4. That's a lot of kit to haul around in Orlando's bone-crushing July heat and humidity (not to mention the 3 pm thunderstorms required by Florida law). Not to mention the crowds.
    One body and two lenses should work just fine. A high quality pocket camera well for the Disney World/Universal/Sea World type stuff, rather than hauling around six or seven pounds of DSLR.
  5. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I happen to be very familiar with both the bodies you have as well as all of your lenses. Individually, each single item is excellent. Both the D750 and D500 use the EN-EL15 battery and can use SD cards. At least I have no problem switching between them, and I also like to have both FX and DX coverage.
    My opinion is that the problem is in the combination of those three lenses, especially for travel. The 85mm/f1.4 AF-S is a great lens for portraits, but it is quite heavy with 77mm filter thread. That front element for f1.4 is big. Unless you are planning to capture a lot of portraits during your trip, there is not a lens for travel.
    An obvious issue is the lack of zooms. When there is nothing between 28mm and 85mm, even though you have both FX and DX, you are missing a lot of common focal lengths in the mid range. There is also no super wide for those buildings in New York, both exterior and interior.
    I think a much stronger set of lenses for city travel should include something wide like the 16-35mm/f4 or 18-35mm AF-S, a mid zoom such as the 24-120 or 24-85mm. The jump from 85mm to 300mm is also big. The 300mm can be useful for some wildlife in Florida, but I would leave the 85mm/f1.4 home as well.
    Of course, there are two places in New York called Adorama and B&H. You can always pick up some lenses there. And if you don't have any XQD memory card for the D500, I would at least get one. Again, the Sony XQD cards come with a reader.
    Concerning the 70-200mm/f2.8, that is a lens Nikon updates quite frequently, perhaps every 5 to 7 years or so. The current version was introduced in 2009. Therefore, you can assume that an upgrade is due. Since the 24-70mm/f2.8 E version is out, it seems obvious that Nikon should introduce an E version of the 70-200mm/f2.8 that the aperture diaphragm will close better at a high frame rate, and VR can improve as well.
    However, IMO the focus breathing issue is way overblown. If you want a lens whose focal length doesn't change during focusing, you need to move all elements together to focus. On a 70-200mm/f2.8 VR, that means moving a lot of heavy elements, and your AF speed will be slow. Nikon wisely made the trade off to just move a small group of elements to focus such that you get fast AF, but once the elements don't move all together, your focal length will change. Unless there are other way to compensate for fast AF speed, you can count on Nikon making the same design compromise again. With modern high-pixel DSLRs, cropping is not a big deal. When your AF is slow, there is no fix.
  6. The problem with family photos, museums, birds and street photos is that it covers almost all focal lengths. So unless you want to carry everything in Nikon's catalog, compromises needs to be made.
    The 28 and 85mm on the D750 will do fine for family photos, actually way more than fine. But you're most serious lack is a wide angle. IMHO something as wide as 20mm on FX or 16mm on DX. That is wide enough but doesn't cause comical perspective distortion.
    My preference is actually for the 20, 35 and 85 together, and not the 28, but the 28 would also work in a pinch. It's about a doubling of focal length between each prime (20/40/80). Since you can move a little bit closer or step back I never feel the need for any focal lengths in between. Your camera to subject distance is often short.
    Having both DX and FX for these kinds of shot makes no sense to me. With the primes you have and the focal length you need for most shots I would only bring the FX camera. If you just bring DX you really need more lenses.
    I know nothing about shooting birds. But NYC, Orlando and family vacation doesn't sound anything like bird photography to me. I've been to both Orlando and NYC and I can't remember seeing any birds. To me that means leaving the 300mm at home.
  7. I usually need at least a wide angle and a short tele, and I always like to have a standard focal lenght at hand.
    If you prefer fixed focal lenght lenses, you may go right with the 28mm on the FX (a 35 is fine but maybe not wide enough as mentioned above) and a 50mm prime on the DX. This way you`ll have covered almost all the most useful focal lenghts to my taste, and on two cameras; 28mm (FX), 50mm (FX), 75mm (50mm lens on DX), 85mm (FX), 127mm (85mm lens on DX), 300mm (FX), 450mm (300mm lens on DX).
    Depending on your day and focal lenght needs you may want to carry with 28 and 75 (normal street use), or 28 and 127 (street and portraits), 50 and 127 (portraiture), 127 and 300 (wildlife), etc.
    As mentioned above, I`d not trade the 28 for the 35. These are different focal lenghts, (personally) suited for different needs. Only if you have a wider lens (say, 20 or 24mm), a 35mm will be more useful than a 28.
    Notice that fixed focal lenght lenses are nowadays specialist lenses, while zooms are the choice for versatility and speed.
    I`m sorry but to be honest I think I have to say this; what is really overblown is the need of having all focal lenghts covered without gaps. Personally, unless you were planning a "true" photographic trip, to carry with two cameras and more than four heavy lenses is a real nonsense. I live in one of the most visited places in the word and use to see loads of tired photographers overwhelmed by their full filled black photo backpacks, stressed in packed undergrounds or snack bars, continuously stopping to change lenses, fold out tripods, etc.
    As Shun says, zoom lenses are quite convenient; much lighter load, no lens changes (with one lens -say, 24-120-, you`ll cover almost all the focal lenghts your two cameras and lenses combinations could provide, -including a 50mm you`d need to buy, not including the 300mm-). Fast and light, to me this is the key to enjoy the trip.
  8. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You can certainly have gaps in focal lengths, but from 28 to 85 is a big gap, so is the jump from 85 to 300mm. If I carry no zooms, I would like to have 20mm, 28 or 35, 50mm, and 85mm. That was probably what I would have done in the 1970's or perhaps the 1980's. Today, it would be the 17-35, 24-85 ....
    There are a lot of tall buildings in NYC. I used to go there every month, including B&H, when I lived in New Jersey (about one hour away by train, or car). At least I would be very frustrated if I don't have at least a 20mm for the buildings.
    Florida is one of the easiest place to photograph birds. If I go there to photograph birds, I would take a 600mm/f4 or at least the 200-500mm. Besides natural areas, there are various wildlife parks. If the OP is after those, the 300mm PF makes a lot of sense. If anything, perhaps he wants something even longer, even on DX. If one doesn't shoot wildlife, I would leave the 300mm home and take a 70-300mm AF-S VR or 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR.
    I am not sure what other lenses the OP has. But among the ones listed so far, while the individual lenses are great, they don't work well as a set IMO. However, adding 1 or 2 wide and medium zooms can fix everything, and Adorama is conveniently located in NYC. :) Just don't try to go there on Friday afternoon or Saturday.
  9. Here's an alternative for your consideration when visiting NYC rent a 24-120mm f4 VR which will cover most of your shooting requirements. You can rent this lens at Adorama for about $20.00 per day, $22.00 for the weekend or $60.00 for the week. Sandeep if you are interested in Birding I would also bring your 300mm f4. You will be able to easily carry this combination covering everything from street, cityscape, and wildlife. Try to limit the amount of gear you bring, anything you forget or need can be picked up from stores like B & H, enjoy your vacation.
  10. Thanks for all the responses, lots of great comments and things for me to think through.

    DX+FX combo is not really for back-up, I got the D500 for bird photography and since it's available, I thought it doesn't
    hurt to carry it at the cost of extra 900 grams in weight. If I mount 28mm and 85mm on these bodies - for 3.5 kg in total
    weight including the bag, I get 28mm, 42mm, 85mm and 127mm coverage with fast lenses, and limited need to swap
    lenses. I know I could get a 24-120 lens on FX and be done, but I just love 85mm f/1.4 and have been taking it to all
    vacations since I got it a few years back - I do a lot of portraits of my 8 year old daughter while we are out of vacation -
    and she does get annoyed at times with that (have 10K photos of her catalogued by month since her birth).

    Total weight of all the equipment and the bag, spare batteries, filters etc is 6 kg, and I can always leave stuff at the hotel
    on a given day. As for the 300mm, I should have mentioned that I have 2 days in Miami and may end up making a trip to
    Everglades. Or I could just skip Everglades (was there just three months back) and leave the 300mm home. The main
    purpose of getting that lens was to carry it on vacations though, I used to take a lot of shots at 200mm on D300s using
    70-200 f/2.8 VR1.

    I do have the XQD card, and will almost certainly visit B&H like I always do. Perhaps I could sell the 28mm, and get a
    20mm f1.8, and a 35mm f/1.8, and with those two, carry my 85mm f/1.4 + the two bodies, and leave the 300mm home. I
    want to avoid getting a 50mm, and use the 35mm as 50mm equivalent on DX if needed. The lens I really would like to
    get some day is the 58mm f/1.4G, it's far too expensive (and I have the 85mm f/1.4) to be on the top of the list at this time.

    Thanks again for taking the time out to respond.
  11. Leaving the 300mm and birds aside - which will in all likelihood require the lens to be on the D500 - having two lenses on two differently sensored bodies does not make much sense to me as will entail - as Ilkka pointed out - a lot of juggling of lenses and bodies. Inevitably, the lens giving you the focal length you want will be on the wrong camera - and you will wish to have a few more hands to help out for the necessary moves. Besides, for me having 28mm as my shortest focal length when in NYC would not work at all.
    Even with one body only and a 28 and 85, I would either find myself in the need to constantly change lenses or eventually give up and shoot with one only.
    In short, at least one of your camera bodies will need to have a zoom attached.
    Whether or not it is a good idea to walk around NYC with two camera bodies dangling about is another issue.
  12. Thanks. I just checked on Amazon India - Nikon 24-120mm f/4 is available for USD 600 equivalent. The reviews suggest
    distortion that can be corrected. Any thoughts on whether this is what I should pick up - one thing is consistent in all the
    responses - the suggestion that I should certainly get a zoom.
  13. The 24-85 VR is not a bad lens, and it is versatile with full frame. Just remember to stop down a bit and up the ISO--and don't drop it.
  14. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you have no other lens between 28mm and 85mm, I would highly recommend getting the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR. It will not only be useful on the NYC/Orlando trip but also for the long run.
    In the US, Nikon USA offers the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR as part of a kit with either the D810 or D750, and the net cost for the lens is about $600 (i.e. price difference between the kit vs. body only). Unless it is used, the $600 price seems very low for lens only.
  15. It's new, it seems Nikon let's them sell the lens that came with the kit separately (with warranty) as long as they sell it at
    the same price as they would have sold it with the body (when I bought the D750 body, they opened the kit combo and
    gave me the body only as I didn't want the lens - body only was in short supply in India then I was told).

    One last question - should I get this or the 70-200 f/2.8 VR2 and live with the weight. Then I just carry the FX body and
    70-200 with 28mm. The price and weight delta is significant but there's nothing like 70-200 VR2 for FX. Apologies for
    asking too many questions and going a bit around in circles, but I will eventually get a 70-200 f/2.8 anyway (possibly the
    next version), so why spend on other lenses now.

    Thanks !!
  16. As said above, the gap from 28 to 70 is big (think that you get a frame with the 28 and the only other choice is less than half of that frame at 70mm). The worst of it is that you`ll need to switch lenses. Well, during decades photographers have switched lenses or to carry with more cameras. Todays solution is to use a zoom.
    Personally (it is a very personal decission), I`d get an all round lens (say, 24-85 for the smaller size or 24-120 for versatility -the 120 end is useful for portraits-) and the 300. I`m not experienced in wildlife but 200mm for birding seem a bit short to my taste.
    If after all you don`t like the zoom (don`t expect it to be on pair with your fixed FL lenses), you can keep it for certain trips or casual shooting.
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Take a look at this current thread: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00e0Mv
    If you shoot weddings, indoor parties, indoor sports such as volleyball or maybe gymnastics, by all means get a 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR. For travel, if you want a 70-200, get the f4 version. At this point, unless you need one immediately I would wait for the next E version, although be prepared to pay a high price and perhaps deal with a bigger lens. Nikon's 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S VR version 2 E lens is a few hundred $ more than version 1 and uses 82mm filters.
    As Jose points out, the gap between 28 and 70mm is huge. If you want to travel with one lens, I would take the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR. The 24-85mm AF-S VR is another alternative.
    I wouldn't get hung up on the "prime" stuff. That was the practice from over a quarter century ago (1980's and before) when zooms were not nearly as good and ISO 400 film was considered high ISO.
  18. I'll add another vote for the Nikon 24-120 f4. I travel a good deal, and unless a trip is specifically for photography, such as an African safari, it is now the only lens I will carry on a true "vacation." I learned my lesson during a trip to Iceland a couple years ago, when I went armed with a 16-35, 70-200, and a prime or two (but only one FX body). It seemed that no matter the situation, I had the wrong lens on the camera. Constantly changing lenses is tiresome, problematic (especially in wind or rain), and not pleasant for my long-suffering wife (who ends up holding lenses, carrying extra gear, etc.).
    Perhaps most important, and somewhat ironic, is how having all this gear seemed to result (at least in my case) poorer photos. With one good mid-range zoom, I can concentrate upon what I see, and my surroundings, instead of on hardware. This is particularly critical in "street" photography, where people and situations are fleeting and always changing. After missing what could have been several nice shots while fumbling with lens changes, I realized that sacrificing a large number of potentially good candids for one or two "maybes" with specialized lenses was pretty foolish. It's hard to beat being able to capture a wide angle cityscape or landscape, and moments later pick an interesting face out of a crowd with a medium telephoto with the simple turn of a zoom ring.
    Not looking like a news reporter is also a benefit, especially in cities.
    Back in the Jurassic days when I first got paid for using a camera, for years I carried two Nikkormat bodies, one with a 28mm and the other with a 105mm--primarily because that was all I could afford. I learned to "see" in those focal lengths, so clicking the shutter was merely an afterthought. I'd done all the preliminary work with my eyes. Acquiring more hardware over the years, thinking "more is better," I got away from that, and my photography suffered. The 24-120 f4 thankfully refreshed my memory.
    If it were me, I'd buy or rent the Nikon 24-120 f4 and leave it on the FX body, put the 300mm on the DX body for maximum reach on birds/wildlife, and enjoy the trip.
  19. I recently went to Rome on holiday and most days I only used a 20 mm and 50 mm lens'. Remember, if you have a Nikon D700 or similar then you can switch to DX format and that gave me a 20 mm, 35 mm, 50 mm and 75 mm lens set up. An FX body that can switch to DX doubles the number of focal lengths with the same number of lens. The numbers are approximate but I found it worked OK for me.
  20. for that set up, i'd pick up a 50mm lens to give you a more reasonable prime range, and the 24-120/4. a hybrid system can work, but you need the right lenses for it. if 28mm is your widest lens, it's almost always going to be on the FX body.
  21. All depends what you are shooting.
    I use a 28 or 35 as a normal on DX and medium wide on FX. The 50 on DX is my portrait setup. I have the 85 f/1.8, but don't use it. The 127-135 equiv is not a focal length I like, and the 85 is big, even the f/1.8. Your 1.4 is even bigger.
    To shoot birds in Florida last winter, I took the 200-500 on DX, and left the 300 at home.
    Have a great trip!
  22. I'm in a similar situation, with a trip coming up later in the year. Since I am likely ruling out bird photography, I am leaving the 200-500mm at home. But I want to use my D500 as my primary body for this trip, and with that, would need a good travel lens. I am considering the 16-80mm. I am also bringing my D800e, along with my 20/1.8 AFS for wide angle needs and the 35/1.4 ART for low light and because I happen to really like this lens. Yes, that travel kit leaves my a max reach of an FOV equivalent to a 120mm but I can live with that for my general travel use.
    My $0.02 would be to select your D500 or D750 as your primary body and get a travel zoom (or whatever lens you will use 60-70% of the time) for that. Then pick two lenses for the other body for specific needs.
  23. Thanks for the advice folks, really appreciate the interest and guidance. Have ordered Nikon 24-120 f/4, should get it in
    the next 2-3 days. With USD 600 deal for new, it was an easy decision. With that, my travel kit is complete - will still
    carry 85mm and 300mm in the bag, but only this lens most days when out and about.

  24. That is a heckuva deal on the 24-120 f4, Sandeep. I paid much more than that for mine two years ago. It is not a perfect lens by any means, but IMHO its convenience more than makes up for any shortcomings. I think you will find it far superior to most "kit" lenses, especially when stopped down a notch or two. I've taken very good quality photos handheld inside dimly lit cathedrals and museums at ISO 2000 with VR on with a D610 body. I think it will make your trip much more enjoyable. Good luck!
  25. Is it reasonable to believe that with FX+DX bodies and the three lenses I will carry, I will be able to cover most of my needs - family photos, museums, few clicks of birds where possible, street photos​
    Kent in SD
  26. I live on the opposite end of the spectrum and would just carry a Nikon FM2n and a 50mm lens. That leaves plenty of room in my Domke F6 for water and something to eat. Oh and as always an extra roll of film. I cannot even remember the last time I shot more then36 pictures in a day but sometimes you start out at the end of a roll so you want to have something to put in the camera.
  27. Hi - thanks for your suggestions. I went to the local camera store and picked up Nikon 70-200 f2.8 lens, canceled my
    Amazon order of 24-120 f4. Will take this lens on D750, and 28mm on D500. If I need wide angle at some point (which I
    use for less than10% of my shots), I will have to swap lenses, otherwise I will be fine with D500 giving around 42mm
    equivalent from my 28mm f1.8 and 70-200mm zoom. Everything else would stay at home. Total weight including the bag
    is 5.5 Kg.

    My logic was that I would get 70-200 2.8 at some point anyway for covering my kids school functions (dim lighting in the
    auditorium) and sports events at her school, so why spend on another lens. Weight is a factor for sure, but this lens is
    worth it in my view. Thanks again for all your advice, very useful. I suspect some of you will disagree with the choice I
    made, but I just couldn't resist this lens. Now waiting for the vacation to start on July 1.
  28. Sandeep, do not forget Pol. filters for the lenses ( or at least one of them) with all that glass in NYC sometimes they com in handyv , as will a proper ND filter when the sun is showing it self, since there will be a lot of high contrast situations then ...
  29. Yes, have a CP already but not an ND. Any suggestions? Thx
  30. Belatedly... as Shun says, I don't see the focus breathing on the 70-200 as a major problem. If I want macro performance, I'll use my Sigma 150mm macro anyway. Yes, there's some technology that could be added, but I doubt it would make a huge difference to an already good lens. If you want to protect one with the fluorine coat, stick a Hoya Fusion filter on the front. I don't do enough video for it to be significant, but I don't think of a 70-200 as an obvious video lens - but then I don't think of Nikon DSLRs as obvious video cameras either. (Evidence suggests that neither do Nikon!) While I'm sure there'll be an update eventually, I kind of expect Nikon to prioritise other things. The 200-400 f/4, the 135 f/2 and 105 f/2, maybe the 200mm f/4 macro (or if we're lucky a new 70-180 macro). Maybe the tilt shifts. You never know, they might even make some of the DX lenses that Thom Hogan keeps complaining about, athough possibly another endless set of variations on 18-xxx zooms is more likely. I'd not go near the 70-200 mk1 on my FX DSLRs, but then I value corners. I'm sure you'll be happy with the mk2. It's not tack sharp at f/2.8, but it's not bad, and it's pretty impressive by f/4.

    With a D750 (or in my case D810), I don't tend to worry too much about dynamic range - the sensor is so good at minimum ISO that you can usually do better in software than the blunt instrument of an ND grad. I've just ordered myself a variable aperture (flat) ND filter, though - which I hope I won't regret compared to buying separate filters. That's more a milky water thing in my case, though.

    I'd take more wide angles of some sort, but that's me, and I always carry too much. Enjoy your trip!
  31. I don't see the focus breathing on the 70-200 as a major problem.​
    that all depends. if you use the 70-200VRII as an event lens and shoot from the lip of the stage, it's noticeable enough to become annoying. if you're not using the lens like this, it's less of an issue, just something to keep in mind.

    i understand the psychology of having the 70-200. it's a bread and butter lens, no question, and as good for portraits as events. but it's super heavy as a travel lens, plus a bit ostentatious. if you're only taking that and a 28, i suppose it could work. better IQ than the 24-120/4, but perhaps less versatile as a dual-format lens. though when ive shot FX/DX combos, i tend to put the 70-200 on the DX body for extra reach.
  32. I own a Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VR. Mostly only use it for weddings. I quit bringing it on personal trips about five years ago. It's not versatile enough, too big & bulky, and makes no sense now that the excellent Nikon 70-200mm f4 VR is available. If I quit shooting weddings/portraits the 70-200mm f2.8 would be sold the next day.
    Kent in SD
  33. I would not pick the 70-200/2.8 as a first choice for traveling (I have used it many times on travels but it does add weight) but it is a very versatile general purpose lens and would be very good choice for this:
    for covering my kids school functions (dim lighting in the auditorium) and sports events at her school,

    and if the weight is not an issue during your trip then you can do multiple functions with one lens which makes it a pragmatic choice. The 70-200/4 VR is excellent (it's light enough to walk around with without discomfort, yet gives nothing away image quality wise) but the aperture is not quite large enough for best results in many indoor photography situations (some of which you mention above).
  34. For family vacation, carrying two bodies is overkill.
  35. Folks - just a quick update. I ended up selling the Nikon 28mm f/1.8 and bought a used Nikon 24mm f/1.4. In the middle
    of my vacation and I have used only the 24mm f/1.4G (awesome lens by the way, but you already know that !!)and 85mm
    f/1.4Gon the two bodies. Nikon 70-200 f/2.8G is sitting in my carry on.

    Two bodies combination is working out well - the real bonus is that my wife is also clicking pictures now. With 24-127mm
    fx equivalent coverage I don't see carrying the 70-200 for vacation again.

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