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Archive 2013 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800
  
 
jtjacka
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p.1 #1 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Hey Guys,

First time poster here at Fred Miranda (or any other photography site for that matter). I have recently decided to make some changes in my life so I am selling all of my home theater gear and switching to photography! My girlfriend and I are buying a bunch of backpacking stuff and plan to set out into nature every weekend to explore Washington State. I always have a camera with me when I go hiking however it has never been my own. I have always been interested in photography however have never take it very seriously. I did take photography classes in high school and have used cameras from time to time since then but like I said nothing serious. But this is all about to change.

I am choosing Nikon because my girlfriend uses Nikon as well as her Dad who has never nice stuff so it would definitely to be on similar set ups.

I have created an Excel sheet on SkyDrive to compare the different options I am thinking about. It is here..

My dream camera would be the D800 however it is obviously a very nice camera and not really made for amateurs like myself. I do learn very quickly however I am not sure how long it will be before I can truly utilize everything about this camera.

The D600 is on here because I seem to find more FX lenses that I like as well as having access to more FX lenses. However, I am worried about the oil issues. I have had whole batches of photos pretty messed up by a dirty sensor and don't want to worry about oil getting onto my sensor constantly.

Finally, the D7100 which seems like a very nice camera. I am mostly worried about how well it would work with FX lenses. I really enjoy wide-angle landscape photography and it seems FX is much better at this.

I haven't spent enough time taking pictures recently to really know what area of photography I am most interested in. I know I like both landscapes and macro photography. Not sure about everything inbetween.

Thanks for the help,
Jeff



Apr 04, 2013 at 08:04 PM
JimFox
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p.1 #2 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Hi Jeff,

Welcome to FM! To choose for yourself to get out into nature is a very good decision. It's definitely very healthy to get outdoors and breath fresh air.

As to your choices, after reading what you wrote it's really simple... you want FX for some very good reasons, so you have really 3 choices, though you didn't list the D700, many will suggest it.

1. D800 - Ideal, but too expensive for now for you... so forget it.
2. D600 - Excellant camera, only issue you have is really the oil on the sensor, I would suggest that you forget about the oil on the sensor, it's not that big of deal... Get the D600
3. D700 - An Awesome camera, and I loved mine, but if I had to choose between buying the D600 and the D700 right now, the D600 would win for me hands down with it's better dynamic range and better high ISO performance. But still a used D700 is something to consider.

Back to the D600... A friend of mine got the D600 and never had an issue with oil at all. On mine, I had some oil spots show up, but they cleaned up super easy. If you are going to get a DSLR, you might as well learn how to clean the sensor. Having to occasionally wet clean a sensor is no big deal, and something you should learn. I would imagine that your girlfriends Dad could help you the first time to clean it.

So again, for me, don't make the oil issue on the D600 bigger than it is. The problem does go away you know? After about 3000 shots, the oil stops splattering on the cameras that had that problem. Remember, not all the cameras had that problem.

I hope that helps,

Jim



Apr 04, 2013 at 08:19 PM
pburke
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p.1 #3 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


If it's just the dirty sensor that worries you about the D600, go watch a video how to wet clean a sensor yourself. It is really a quite basic skill one should have anyway if sensor dust cleanup isn't your cup of tea in Photoshop. My D7000 was way dirtier than the D600, but nobody made it a huge online rant issue, so I didn't clean it. Now I have Copper Hill's wet cleaning kit and my D600 sensor looks like it came out of the clean room yesterday.

I had the camera for 500 frames when I first noticed the spots. Nothing huge, and only visible when shooting a wide angle at f16 against a bright sky. There's no way I could justify a D800 over the D600 for my hobby use, while the D700 doesn't even shoot video, which disqualifies it for me.





Apr 04, 2013 at 08:34 PM
leighton w
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p.1 #4 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


pburke wrote:
If it's just the dirty sensor that worries you about the D600, go watch a video how to wet clean a sensor yourself. It is really a quite basic skill one should have anyway if sensor dust cleanup isn't your cup of tea in Photoshop. My D7000 was way dirtier than the D600, but nobody made it a huge online rant issue, so I didn't clean it. Now I have Copper Hill's wet cleaning kit and my D600 sensor looks like it came out of the clean room yesterday.

I had the camera for 500 frames when I first noticed the
...Show more
I'll second what Peter says.



Apr 04, 2013 at 08:37 PM
binary visions
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p.1 #5 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


While I would generally agree that FX is a better choice for landscape, I would suggest you not write off DX entirely for that purpose. Lenses like the Sigma 10-20mm, Tokina 11-16mm, Nikon 10-24, etc. will bring you within range of the widest FX lenses.

The reason I mention it is that a D7100 + Nikon 10-24mm (or Sigma, or Tokina, or whatever) would be smaller and lighter than the FX equivalent, and you could have both for the price of the D600 body alone.

This is not to dissuade you from FX if you can afford it, but a DX camera plus an ultrawide is going to take more pictures than the FX camera without a lens on it , plus you get some benefits in the size/weight department which can be nice when you're out hiking.

If you can afford it, I think a D600 plus, say, a Nikon 16-35mm VR is going to produce superior results, it just comes with some price and size disadvantages.



Apr 04, 2013 at 08:39 PM
MDoc9523
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p.1 #6 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


If you are going to go on long hikes you might want to consider the D7100, although there are some fantastic deals on the D7000 right now (just a thought) I use FX lenses on my D7000 all the time. The big plus here is the pilifera of DX lenses at very reasonable prices. For sure there are more lens options with DX and most of the time cheaper prices. For that matter why not a D5100?


Apr 04, 2013 at 08:58 PM
Chestnut
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p.1 #7 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


If I were you, I would give the D7100 a very serious consideration. I have had DX cameras, as well as FX cameras. I do have a D800E, but just sold my D90 in anticipation of buying a newer DX body within the next year or two.

I would have to say that for backpacking and travel, you'll appreciate the lighter weight of DX bodies. DX bodies can use all FX lenses. It will just use the best parts of the lens! -- the center part --

For myself, my travel setup is a DX body with a 16-85 and 70-300VR. And that covers the majority of my travel photos. Occasional macro stuff I might supplement with a macro lens, but not always necessary. Those are two really nice lenses to go with that are very competent.

D800 is a great camera, but it's 2.5x more expensive, and it weights more. If you're unsure, you can always rent first, then buy what you feel is best for you!

FX isn't for everyone. Choose the right tool for the right job. And to me, travel and hiking just screams DX. That is, unless you have a sherpa



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:01 PM
Two23
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p.1 #8 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


For you, the one really BIG thing the D7100 offers is a 24mp camera at a great price. Modern state of art FX lenses are expensive. The equivalent lenses for DX are less so. I personally would not spend the big money on a camera and then use the 20-30 yr. old lenses on it. (There are a few exceptions such as 28-75mm f2.8.) Just as cameras have changed over the past quarter century, lenses have changed every bit as as much. Another important piece is the tripod and head--a good one goes for something like $800. Why would you get a cheap one? Finally, there is software. It's very important now, and the better programs tend to be a bit of money. Same for having the computer power to deal with the files created by 24-36mp files. I have learned to look at camera gear as a SYSTEM, and the camera is the least important single piece. Cameras come & go. I honestly don't think you'll be able to tell the difference between a shot taken with a D600 and a D7100. Certainly none of your friends will. If you aren't making prints bigger than 11x14 and mostly will post to the internet it will be all too easy to waste thousands of dollars on a camera and get no real benefit from that money. I'll conclude with my favorite line: I'd rather have a $100 point & shoot camera and a ticket to Iceland than a $3,000 camera but no money to go anywhere cool. Camera bodies lose value SO fast now that they are merely computer peripherals. The best value right now is the D7100, and even a D5200 would work for what you want. The less they cost, the less you're going to lose. (Lenses, tripods, flash tend to hold value well.)


Kent in SD



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:06 PM
montym
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p.1 #9 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


I've had a D600, a D700 and presently a D800.

I sold the D700 to get a D600. I D600 is a great camera, I did not have any issues with dust. The D600 just didn't feel as nice in my hands as the D700. It felt more like a consumer camera. I traded up to the D800. I LOVE the D800. WOW 36MB sensor is great. Cropping photos is not a problem. THe D800 feels like a real camera

That said, I'd go for #3!!!!!!

Spend it

Monty



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:08 PM
edl415
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p.1 #10 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


+1 for Kent's advice.

I'll save you some time - before you read hundreds of other threads telling you about how X camera has 0.25 more DR than Y camera, but Z camera has 100 point AF, and at ISO 51200 it clearly shows less noise than Q camera, but R camera is coming out with FF next year, read Kent's post again.

I should also say that my best photos were captured when I had a camera in my hand. It's great to have cutting edge gear, but it does you no good if that 12 pounds of gear is left in the closet all day long.

BTW, no matter what direction you take, you're bound to find something to complain about. So I recommend starting with the D7100, so you can complain about its apparent lack of wide angle options, thus justifying your upgrade path to the D600, which then sprays oil like a mid-70's porsche, again justifying the upgrade to the D800. Hope the left side AF is fixed by then.

(sarcasm filter off)

My recommendation: D5100, Sigma 8-16 or 10-20, Sigma 17-70. Light (1580g), compact, cheap ($1500), high IQ. 95/100 people couldn't tell the difference between DX and FX in most 20x30 landscape prints. If you're one of the five who can, just keep it a secret.

Edited on Apr 04, 2013 at 09:31 PM · View previous versions



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:24 PM
 

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Arka
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p.1 #11 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


JimFox wrote:
1. D800 - Ideal, but too expensive for now for you... so forget it.


If you can swing it, get a D800. It's a fantastic landscape camera; fairly rugged, very high resolution, and FX. Not knocking the other choices, but if you want to buy just one camera and use it for a very long time, I can't think of a better choice. Also, I don't think the D800 is that expensive. I picked up a very clean used one for $2300 just a few weeks ago.



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:28 PM
sb in ak
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p.1 #12 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


What bothered me about the D600 is that it felt like it had a Ferrari sensor in a cheap body. I had a hard time justifying the cost. I returned it for a refurb D800 for $300 more....much happier.


Apr 04, 2013 at 09:38 PM
jtjacka
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p.1 #13 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Wow so much advice in such a short period of time. I can't seem to figure out how to multi-quote on these forums so I will try to respond as best as I can.

FX isn't for everyone. Choose the right tool for the right job. And to me, travel and hiking just screams DX. That is, unless you have a sherpa

I am planning on backpacking so I will have a backpack made for at least 50 pounds but can probably handle more. I am not too worried about weight because I do have very lightweight backpacking equipement.

@Kent You have some very good points about thinking of all of this as a system. Luckily I work as a Web Developer so I do already have a very powerful computer system with the full Adobe Master Collection and even have Lightroom so that part of the system is taken care of. I have looked into the D5200 and I believe I would out grow that camera very quickly.

Also, I don't think the D800 is that expensive. I picked up a very clean used one for $2300 just a few weeks ago.

This is a very good point. I am certainly not opposed to going used or refurbished with the camera or the lenses.

Finally I do have an initial budget of around $4500, not sure if that helps.



Apr 04, 2013 at 09:51 PM
sb in ak
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p.1 #14 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Sorry, just looked at your first post and excel sheet...thought I was replying to another thread, but my previous comment still stands (somewhat).

I see you're into wide angles and backpacking in WA. SWEET!!

If you're looking for a solid landscape camera, the D600 and 800 are solid bets. The 600 is bit lighter which you'd no doubt appreciate backpacking. It feels a little less rugged, but supposedly the weather sealing is pretty much on par with the 800. I think I'd still go with the 800, as it's just a more solid camera.

One idea (more geared to soley landscape photography):

Refurb D800
Nikkor 16-35 (can use filters, lighter than 14-24)
Nikkor 50 1.8G
Tamron 70-300 VC (or if you can stretch for it, 70-200 f/4).
Decent lightweight tripod.

If you went 600 instead of 800, you could probably definitely afford the 70-200 f/4.

Another option (what I'm doing). I do a mixture of photography, so adding the 24-70 into the mix is a no brainer for me:

Zeiss Distagon 18 f/3.5
Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8
Nikkor or Tokina 70-200 f/4. (Haven't purchased yet, saving--Tokina isn't out yet).
(50mm also, but not on my hikes)

I just switched from Canon, where I had a 17-40L and 24-105L. I actually used my 24-105 for a lot of landscapes as it is plenty wide for most things. I found that I mostly shot the 17-40 at 17. So, with this new switch, I just figured I'd add a prime in that range to save a little space. I couldn't afford the Zeiss 21 and wanted the wider angle anyway. Plus, I'm sick of Nikon's quality control and wanted a solid third party I can use filters on. I like a zoom like the 24-70 as I don't have to take it off a lot if shooting in inclement weather (which I encounter often). Waiting for my Zeiss 18 in the mail, so I can't comment on my decision yet.

Good luck with your decision.




Edited on Apr 04, 2013 at 10:18 PM · View previous versions



Apr 04, 2013 at 10:12 PM
pburke
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p.1 #15 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


$4500, backpacking and landscape?

D800e refurb
18-35mm (the new one)
50mm f1.8 manual focus 1980s AIS
14mm Rokinon/Samyang
maybe 105mm f2.5 AIS manual focus or a used 70-300mm VR just to have some range. I alternate between these two

wildlife shooting at that price point not possible, plus you really don't want to carry those lenses with a big overnight pack anyway.

nice carbon tripod, extra batteries, remote trigger, wibal card nice polarizer, ND100 filter - you're in business.

plenty of money left over.




Apr 04, 2013 at 10:17 PM
jtjacka
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p.1 #16 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


I see you're into wide angles and backpacking in WA. SWEET!!

Exactly, which makes the weather sealing important. You never know when I will be caught in the rain.


wildlife shooting at that price point not possible

I kind of assumed this already and figured I could worry about those lens later down the road. Thanks for thinking about the tripod and accessories as well. I will have to price out this and see what it comes out to.



Apr 04, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Two23
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p.1 #17 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


jtjacka wrote:
@Kent You have some very good points about thinking of all of this as a system. Luckily I work as a Web Developer so I do already have a very powerful computer system with the full Adobe Master Collection and even have Lightroom so that part of the system is taken care of. I have looked into the D5200 and I believe I would out grow that camera very quickly.




I've been taking photos for a quarter of a century now, for the past 12 years I do it almost daily. I've been shooting weddings over the past year, and in the past I've done stock photography, odd jobs as a commercial photographer, and was a photo columnist/commentator for a specialty magazine. I still regularly shoot LF (4x5), medium format (film,) and a Leica IIIc along with Nikon digitals. That said, I have never understood what "growing out of a camera" means. The camera just isn't that important in the big scheme of things. Some of my most compelling images I made last year I did with a $5 Kodak Brownie made in 1959. I will never "outgrow" the Brownie. A camera is just a camera--a machine. The art comes from an artist.

I live in South Dakota and am an avid outdoorsman. We as a family take "adventure" vacations every year to places like Scotland, Hawaii, Arctic Canada, Iceland, and etc. We have the money to do this so you can assume I have the $$ to buy camera gear. If I were putting together a camera ::system:: for backpacking (something I've done plenty of) it would be: Nikon D5200, Nikon 16-85mm, Nikon 70-200mm f4 VR, Nikon SB-700, polarizer, 3 spare batteries , Gitzo Traveler CF tripod, and a small RRS ballhead. That would be about it. I would not buy the bulkier and more expensive D800 because no one I show or potentially sell my images too are going to tell the difference between that and a D5200. If I were a full time wedding photographer it would be a different story, but then I wouldn't be concerned with the weight & bulk either. I'll never shoot a wedding after hiking at 14,000 ft. The day is coming when instead of a DSLR, my choice for a backpacking camera will be a Micro 4/3 type camera that's even smaller and has even smaller lenses, meaning I could get by with an even lighter tripod. Unless you are regularly blowing your photos up to something like 20x30 and actually selling prints, you are wasting money with a very expensive camera. Over the years, I've learned to concentrate more on the image than the gear. You will take better photos with a small lightweight camera than a big heavy one while backpacking, mostly because you will tend to keep the small one someplace easier to get to. If you have to stop everything and dig a $3,000 camera out of all the protective pouches before taking a shot, odds are you are going to take fewer shots. You may also be less willing to take risky shots with an expensive camera that you might do with a far less expensive one. This is all human nature, and I've often seen exactly this while hiking Yosemite/Yellowstone/Jasper/Grand Canyon/Banff/Iceland/Scottish Highlands et c. et c.


Kent in SD



Apr 04, 2013 at 11:38 PM
sb in ak
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p.1 #18 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Some decent advice there.

Kind of along those lines: Maybe heresy to mention Pentax here but... something else you might consider is the Pentax K5IIs w/ DA*16-50 and DA*50-135. Camera and lenses are sealed to a higher standard of any Canikon short of the 1DX and D4. Great imaging sensor (same as D7000 but no AA filter). Pentax AF is a little behind the big boys but they're making great outdoor cameras and for landscapes, slightly slower AF isn't going to matter. Downside: not current FF upgrade path.

In the end, it's whatever you want to get out of it. Maybe you want 20x30 prints. D800 isn't necessarily wasting money IMO.



Apr 05, 2013 at 12:33 AM
thedruid
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p.1 #19 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Hopefully you are young and strong, carry a D800 plus FX lenses hiking? The reason to buy the Pentax is for the prime limited lenses, small and light.


Apr 05, 2013 at 01:11 AM
cebseb
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p.1 #20 · Need Help deciding between D7100, D600, and D800


Great advice from everyone here as expected. I have my own ideas and suggestions, but I really think you should look into renting the gear you mentioned for at least a weekend or two. I don't know how close you are to Seattle, but Glazer's camera is one of the best rental stores I have ever dealt with and very reasonably priced.

I have a D4 and the D7100 And a few lenses that might be of interest to you. If Bellevue isn't too far away for you and you would like to give any of my gear a spin, feel free to drop me a PM. Cheers!

Sebastian



Apr 05, 2013 at 02:07 AM
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