Which Nikon DSLR would you recommend for me?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by rexmarriott, May 16, 2018.

  1. I used them a while back (though not for anything big) and didn't have any problems. I've also used and been happy with Aperture, Cameraworld, Dale and LCE. Ffordes, Harrison, Mifsuds, Wex, and Park, etc. also have good reputations.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  2. NX2 works with my Df NEF. I think the Df was introduced after the D800/D800E right?
  3. Andrew, let me elaborate on what I meant with image quality. If you look at Photonstophoto’s chart showing photographic dynamic range versus ISO, the difference (in percentage) is higher to the D800E’s advantage on the higher end of the scale (ISO 6 400-12 800, over that everything falls apart) than it is to the D810’s advantage at the lowest ISO settings. With that in mind look at DxOMark’s sensor score and note that (the D850 has a lower sports score than) the D810 (, which in turn) has a lower sports score than the D800E. While at DxOMark, look at the sharpness results shown for the same Nikkor lenses mounted on the D800E versus on the D810. The number of lenses that score a point or two higher on the D800E than they do on the D810 is notable. The sum of those parts was the basis for my claim that the D810 does not offer a significantly better image quality than the D800E. (I would not dispute the fact that the D810 is more refined, handles better and therefore is the better tool.)

    Off topic, comparing to the D850:
    I regularly shoot indoor dressage and showjumping and clearly noted the difference in noise when I compared the D800E to the D850. (I know that for indoors sports, the D4S or D5 would be the logical choice, but they are different animals in all other aspects and well above the OP’s budget.) The D800/E do have occasional problems getting the color temperature right, something the D850 only rarely displayed when shooting under these nightmare lights.

    I suspect Shun’s review of the D850 has been canceled, as it still has not been published and that camera has long since been returned to Nikon. Personally, I do not mind as I got to test the D850 for a week and see what is what from my perspective. I will upgrade, the D850 offers a significantly better image quality than the other D8X0X versions in a body that offers much better AF and handling. I can crop more, the AF gives me more keepers. The only downside I noted was the noise at higher ISO, even when downsampled. (Photonstophotos also indicate this). That I can live with.
    mike_halliwell likes this.
  4. Not that I'm recommending it as such, but I was looking for a modern sensor FX Nikon body to convert to IR and I was amazed at how low in price a lightly used D600 goes for. I know of the oil 'issue', but as I'm taking the poor thing to bits anyway...;)

    You could buy 2 for £1000...or some new glass....:cool:

    The main issue is FX v DX.

    What glass, specifically, do you have?

    Ah, Heimbrandt, the challenges of indoor showjumping.........:)
  5. You got oil spots from a D610? That surprises me. The D600 had an oil spot issue; the D610 is essentially a D600 with a slightly redesigned shutter that gives it an extra half fps, but also was supposed to restore the reputation of the body after the oil spot thing. Of all Nikon's cameras, I'm worried that you've seen a D610 with an oil spot, let alone two. They definitely weren't D600s?

    That said, I believe a recall fixed most of these oil spot problems, so - while you should check - I wouldn't be too scared of a D600 these days. But the D750 is quite a lot better!

    As forum regulars will recall, I had a terrible experience with the 135 DC, which was one of the lenses that made me switch from Canon based partly on Hynoken's review. I found it not terribly sharp, hard to focus, and - especially with any setting on the DC dial - spectacularly prone to LoCA. The 1001 nights article is very flattering about it, but it also claims it's light, which it isn't. The background rendering is beautiful, and the LoCA goes away if you treat your f/2 lens as an f/5.6 lens, but the coloured halos around the focal plane were massively distracting to me. I shot some photos at a friend's wedding on it, and spent hours in photoshop trying to stop the jewellery looking purple and the bride's blonde hair from looking green. Others seem to have had somewhat better luck, but certainly try before you buy. I still have my 135 f/2.8 AI, however. I have vague hopes that Nikon might decide to update the 135mm with one that handles the background with an apodisation element - a lens with the sharpness and LoCA handling of the Laowa but the stronger element of the Sony f/2.8 STF would have a lot of appeal to me.
  6. Thanks, Heimbrandt. I tend to pay more attention to the dynamic range chart on DxO, but I appreciate that sensors have different aspects. I'll try to do some experiments and see what I find - since I unexpectedly (due to a poor trade-in offer) ended up with both a D810 and D850.
  7. I think you have the problem of being too rich! The 135mm DC is way too expensive and promises to take soft pictures.
  8. I hope that was directed at Ben. :) I'd be a lot richer if I hadn't spent quite so much money on NAS...
  9. Good question. Ignoring the older lenses, I have (all Nikkor): AF Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8D; AF 28mm f2.8D; AF-S 50mm f1.8G; AF-S 85mm f1.8G.

    One decision made: I'm definitely going FX, and I understand that the D800 will ruthlessly show up any imperfections with my lenses and my technique. So be it - a good way to learn, I reckon, and if I feel compelled to shell out on better lenses in order to get the best out of the camera, I'll take a deep breath and do it.

    The D800 seems the most likely choice at the moment. The D610 an outside bet.
    syed_asad_ali_zaidi likes this.
  10. Your 105 f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor is probably the sharpest lens in your bag.

    I use the snot out of mine, and that includes doing some ultra high magnification work on bellows(something that will also magnify any issues in the lens). I actually had and sold the newer AF-S VR version because, while it's better on paper, I found it more difficult to use as a true macro lens and with no appreciable difference in sharpness vs. the old 105 D. I'd say it's the only time I've found a D lens to be superior to its newer AF-S equivalent.

    I'll also say that I no longer own an example of the legendary 55mm f/2.8 AI-s Micro, and instead have the AI 55mm f/3.5(along with a late pre-AI one). Used as a "normal" lens substitute, the AI-s is better, but I find that as you start approaching and go beyond lifesize, the older lens is better. I'm not the only one to make this observation.

    BTW, if you pixel peep with a D800(or any other 36mp+ camera) you'll find a couple of things to be true. First of all, no matter how good you are and how careful you are, a tripod almost always makes a difference. Second, the effects of diffraction will jump out at you and if you'll be terrified of going smaller than f/5.6(until you realize that you're not going to print your photos 10 feet wide and everything looks worse than it actually is). Third, you'll realize that DOF really is an artificial concept and that there is only ONE plane of sharp focus and just different amounts of out of focus. Again, this is something that you'll only see in the real world on a huge print-with an 8x10 the DOF will look the same as any other 35mm or FX camera.
    DavidTriplett and Andrew Garrard like this.
  11. Well, the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G and 85 f/1.8G are very solid performers too. The AF-D 28mm f/2.8 is probably the weaker link, but it won't be terrible either. In fact, I'd worry with none of these lenses on a D8x0. They'll do the job just fine.

    Frankly, the "camera shows lensfaults" problem should be seen in perspective. Yes, these cameras are more capable of showing the limitations of lenses than lower-resolution cameras are. That does not mean that lenses suddenly are worse or no longer useful or suitable; in fact they're as good as they ever were, and possibly the combination of lens and camera yield a better resolution than before. It'll not be less in any case. And, as Ben rightly notices, some of these issues require large prints or pixelpeeping, but at normal magnifications, the problem simply isn't visible.

    My favourite (and most used) lenses are older AiS lenses, and when I went from a D700 to a D810, I was curious to see if these lenses were as bad as some people frequently claim. Well, frankly, they're not. Some are downright excellent, some clearly have limits, but still show a solid increase in resolved details compared to the D700. So, they continue to be my most used lenses, since they are still the same lenses. The whole resolution-limit story shouldn't be made too important: there is a lot more to a good lens or photo than just resolution and sharpness in the extreme corners.
    So, if you have Ai/AiS lenses you like, there is no reason to not try them on your future new camera. They'll work just fine.
  12. The curse of modern times is that the print size only sometimes matters - the first thing I'm likely to do with an image I see online is zoom in on bits of it to see more detail (whereas previously I'd zoom with my head), so assuming I'm not weird (in this particular way) sharpness matters way more than it used to. I do tend to stick above f/6.3 where possible (f/7-ish for the 14-24 because of field curvature), but then this also makes the images less sensitive to dust on the sensor. Software can deconvolve diffraction to some extent, so we perhaps shouldn't be too terrified of f/16, but I've certainly seen full-frame magazine shots from high MP cameras that were clearly soft, presumably because of their stated f/22 apertures.

    I also used to be quite happy shooting most of my lenses wide open on my D700. Not so much with a 36MP body. I've just given the Sigma 85mm Art a work out at f/1.4, but it was in the dark; certainly I'm looking at a 70-200 upgrade from my VRII f/2.8, which looks sharp at all apertures on a D700 (and much better than an 80-200). And my 28-200 was a lovely lens on a D700, but a paperweight on a D800.

    DPReview demonstrated this sometime around the Eos 50D generation - the issues they saw when they tested it were mostly lens artifacts you couldn't see with the previous, lower-resolution body.
  13. Oops, I missed that he had the G version of the 50mm.

    I'm not terribly hot on the AF-Nikkor and AF-D version of this lens. They use a multi-coated version of the Series E design rather than the AI-s design(I forget if there was an AI 50mm f/1.8-it would have been fairly late as the excellent 50mm f/2 survived well into the AI era). Although the Series E 50mm isn't a BAD lens, it's not as good as the AI-s version and IMO the "cult" status the lens seems to have achieved is a bit overblown.

    The G version uses a newer optical formula, and for what I've seen it's quite a good lens.

    BTW, I agree that issues with "old" lenses are often overblown.

    I'll leave you with this-a photo taken with my D800 and a non-AI 55mm Micro mounted on bellows. I think I worked out that it was in the range of 2.5x lifesize, and shot at a set aperture of f/5.6 on the lens(this was done under strobes that normally give me around f/28 at ISO 100). The camera was mounted(via the bellows) on the massive ~20lb aluminum tripod that I bought for large format, but rarely take out of the house for obvious reasons.

    The first is the full frame, while the second is a 100% crop.

    balance wheel-web.jpg balance wheel copy-100 crop.jpg
  14. The 50mm f/1.8 AF-S I bought when I wanted to test the AF performance of my D800 (since there was a production problem with the AF module), and the AF-D version was so soft wide open that I couldn't tell whether it was in focus. The AF-S version is better, but it's certainly not all that sharp until it's stopped down quite a lot. The AF-D is sharp by f/6.3 too, to be clear, but the bokeh is a bit ugly - and buying an f/1.8 lens to use it at f/6.3 is a bit disingenuous. The Sigma Art 50mm is in a different league, but also vastly heavier. I still have, in increasing size, weight and image quality, the 50mm f/1.8 series E, the AF-D f/1.8, the AF-S f/1.8 and the Sigma f/1.4A. They each have their place. As with a number of older lenses (mostly primes), the older f/1.8 design stands up to a 30+MP sensor perfectly well so long as you're not shooting wide open. Of course, if you want the depth of field control or you're in very low light, that trumps sharpness.

    The 85mm f/1.8 AF-S is lovely and decently sharp, and has much better bokeh than its predecessor. Unfortunately used anywhere near wide open it has LoCA that reminds me of my 135mm experience. Shooting a portrait, the subject would be sharp, the bookshelf in the background would be beautifully blurred, and every title on the bookshelf would look green because of the LoCA. I traded it for the Sigma 85mm. (I used to have the 85mm Samyang too - I think the LoCA may have been a little less offensive, but manual focus of an f/1.4 lens was too tedious on a 36MP body.)

    Rex, I'd strongly suggest a D750 over a D610 if you're looking at the 24MP bodies - the handling is substantially ahead, particularly in autofocus. But I'd take the D800E (or 810 if you can stretch to one) in preference if you can afford it. Bear in mind the D800 hangs when you've taken a live view photo (which you'll probably do more than you expect, coming from a D1x, since it's one way round any AF accuracy issues) until it's written an image to a card, so it's worth getting fast cards for that camera. Just to add to your budget. (To express solidarity, I've just dropped about £500 on memory cards for my D850 upgrade.)
  15. Ben he buys a lot of stuff but he tends to buy old stuff so the money not that much. You tend to buy the latest and greatest.
  16. Rex, a used D800 or D800e is right at your price point. It's image quality is superb and your lens collection will work well with it. I bought mine new in June 2012 and have been very happy with the quality over all. Dedicated Kirk and RRS arca plates and L brackets can be found on the used market for half their new price and the dedicated vertical grip is 1/3 it's original price if that is what you choose. There is much discussion that high mega pixel cameras show the limitations of many lenses. That is true but they also bring out the best in a lens. There are professionals who use and make a living with lesser glass than any that you own. I would take the plunge. Congratulations on your choice. Check out Adorama, B&H and KEH used gear. I have bought new from the former two and used from all of them and they are all good about accepting returns . Stay frosty.
    syed_asad_ali_zaidi likes this.
  17. Ah. Yes, guilty. Not that it's making me a particularly good photographer, but at least it means I've not been able to pull the trigger on a 400 f/2.8 yet!

    Incidentally, I'd meant to call Ben out on his tripod comment. I'd say it's worth keeping the shutter speed a bit higher than you'd think, but don't be afraid of shooting a D800 hand-held. It does have a bit of visible mirror slap/shutter vibration around the 1/10-1/100s range, though. I absolutely have my share of images that aren't, at a pixel level, tack sharp - but at least a reasonable number seem to be, and I use a tripod a small minority of the time.
  18. Oh, and since we seem to be gravitating towards the D800, I'll point out that, shooting with a D800e, I saw moire issues perhaps twice in three years (on distant railings), and software fixed them trivially. The plain D800's AA sensor is mild enough that it's not a complete fix anyway. So I would (and did) go for the D800E (or D810) over the plain D800 for the (mild) sharpness benefits, possibly unless you spend your entire time shooting fashion and are worried about threads.
    syed_asad_ali_zaidi likes this.
  19. I went from the D800 to the D800E and my experience is in line with the difference in perceived sharpness that DxOMark shows when you compare the same Nikkors on mounted on the two bodies. That is in itself a very good reason for going for the E.

    I have seen hints of moiré on some photos, a couple of bird photos, but nothing that could not be fixed in post.
  20. I can get moire pretty easily with my DCS 14/n-a full frame 14mp camera without an AA filter. It's mostly an indoor camera for me, and I see it with some frequency on fabric backdrops.

    Even though I don't have a D800E or D810, I know that in theory the higher pixel density means that moire is a lot less likely to occur. That's why 36mp+ cameras typically go "naked" these days.

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