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Archive 2013 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!
  
 
jasoncallen
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p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


The 18-35 AFD, 24-85 AFS VR, and 70-300 AFS VR will all give you good results on your D300s until you switch to an FX platform where they will truly shine, but if you're going to be sticking with DX for a while, you will net no image quality gains with these lenses, except more long-end reach on the 70-300VR.

If your D300s does most of what you need, and the glass isn't doing it for you, get good DX glass and be happy.

If you have the FX itch, get the D700, shake it all up, and get the FX lenses that will reward you with the perspectives you've missed... but don't expect miracles. The D300s, save for a bit of dynamic range, and a bit of depth of focus control, will do most of what my D700 will (I put 30k clicks on a D300s and about the same on the D700) with comparable glass.

Buy once, cry once. Pick DX or FX, and do a complete system change (body AND glass), or you will be equally frustrated with your new-to-you system.

I strongly advise spending the money on quality, purpose-specific DX lenses and getting away from the do-it-all-OK, but nothing spectacular 18-200 VR (which I've owned a few copies of - I keep wanting to like it, but it just doesn't "wow" me). A 12-24/4 Tokina or 11-16/2.8 Tokina will give you excellent wide captures, the 70-300VR will get you significantly more reach. A used 17-55/2.8 AFS will cover your midrange very well, and those can be had for a song used compared to their new price. All that is cheaper than a new-to-you used D700, and you'll get more bang for your buck as a hobbyist... unless you need shallow depth of focus.

Maki65 wrote:
I Have to say it is tempting to get better glass and stick with the D300s, it still only has 10,000 clicks.

I suppose the question is if I get the D700 will I see a great image improvement, looking at this http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/d700/sharpness-comparison.htm, it suggests there is little or none. However, I don't really buy that as what is the point of making three cameras for them to all be the same?

I have found a D700 with 1600 clicks and having talked to the vendor, he assures me it is as new and this is up for Ģ1299. I still have
...Show more



Jun 24, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Maki65
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p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


As it is landscapes where I miss what I had on 35mm film the Nikon 12-24mm/ Tokina may be a decent bet. However, I do wonder if DX glass is becoming a poor relation now FX seems to be the flavour of the month.


Jun 24, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Dustin Gent
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p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Here is a video a buddy of mine showed me a while back. He is friends' with these guys and they got to shoot this. It is a D600 - which I am still thinking about getting, just for the increase in resolution.

video

Here is a shot - taken with the Samyang 14mm and D700







Edited on Jun 24, 2013 at 09:48 PM · View previous versions



Jun 24, 2013 at 07:00 PM
jasoncallen
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p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Maki65 wrote:
As it is landscapes where I miss what I had on 35mm film the Nikon 12-24mm/ Tokina may be a decent bet. However, I do wonder if DX glass is becoming a poor relation now FX seems to be the flavour of the month.



The way I see it, good glass doesn't go bad, and if the camera meets your needs, but the lens does not, you're selling the car to replace the windshield if you're selling a camera body because you have the wrong lens for the task.

If you buy a used Tokina 11-16/2.8 or 12-24/4, you're spending $400 for a used lens, tops. If you're buying a D700, you have to sell everything you've got, and then buy a $1500ish body, a $300 lens (18-35 AFD), $350 lens (24-85 VR), and $375 lens (70-300 VR).

Try a used wide DX lens before you jump ship - you may be pleasantly surprised. And if you're not, you flip the lens for what you paid for it, and go FX anyhow.

Glass first when buying. Always. Your lenses deliver more to your image than a camera body, film stock, or sensor ever will. When it comes to image quality (in good light), I'd rather have a D40 with a sharp f1.4 prime or f2.8 zoom than a D4 with a fuzzy kit lens that flares badly.

Shots from an "obsolete" D90 and D300 with a Tokina 12-24mm f/4:


DSC_1491 by Jason Allen Photo, on Flickr


JCA_1491 by Jason Allen Photo, on Flickr


JCA_5135 by Jason Allen Photo, on Flickr


JCA_5366 by Jason Allen Photo, on Flickr


JCA_5388 by Jason Allen Photo, on Flickr



Jun 24, 2013 at 09:00 PM
the solitaire
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p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Glass first definitely is the best advise at this stage.

I would have liked to switch to a D700 a while back but before doing so I decided to hang on to my D300 for a bit longer and first get a set of lenses that will last me the next decade and will let me do anything I want to on DX.

Fortunately by doing my homework I found lenses that will continue to do good stuff when I decide to move to FX, but I paid more compared to DX glass and I carry significantly more weight compared to DX as well.

Depending on your subjects however you might be able to save some money by buying a (used) DX wide (like the Tokina 12-24 f4), an FX standard zoom (Nikon AF 35-70 f2,8D) and a couple of primes (28mm f3,5 PC Nikkor, AF 85mm f1,8D and AF 180mm f2,8D come to mind)

Buy the full package and you should still have money left compared to buying a new camera body.



Jun 24, 2013 at 09:35 PM
RRRoger
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p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


If you put the 18-200 on the D700, the image quality will not be as good.

I personally have not found the 18-35, 24-85, or any of the 70-300 lens to be as good as the 28-300.

But the 14-24, 24-70, and 70-200 are even better.




Jun 25, 2013 at 12:06 AM
Two23
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p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Maki65 wrote:
1. I suppose the question is if I get the D700 will I see a great image improvement,

2. I have found a D700 with 1600 clicks and having talked to the vendor, he assures me it is as new and this is up for Ģ1299.

3. The other option is FX glass on my D300s for now and wait and see what Nikon do next. For instance, how would a 18-35 mm, 24-85 mm and 70 -300mm all compare in respect to just sticking with the 18-200mm for image quality?

.


1. You will likely see NO difference, let alone a great one. No one looking at your photos will be able to tell any difference at all.

2. And then at least that much for expensive FX lenses. How much money do you want to have tied up in camera gear? (That is constantly losing value.)

3. The Nikon 18-35mm AFD was one of the worst lenses I've owned. Lots of distortion at the wider end. Yeah, 20 years ago it was considered to be a pretty good lens. I've tried many ultrawide lenses and the best is still the Tokina 11-16mm. To get a lens that good for FX, you'll have to spend $1,800 for the NIkon 14-24mm.


You are asking about cameras, but what you really want to know is what will best improve your photos. You are likely to discover the same thing I & many others have, that spending money on a camera ultimately makes the least difference to your shots. Lenses can make a difference that is more noticeable. Tripods are even more important to landscape photography than either lenses or cameras generally speaking. However, even talking about tripods I am once again on the wrong track as to advising what I'll call "best use of money."

Far too often we look to new gear to improve our shots, but rarely can it do this. That's because what really makes an image spectacular has little to do with the gear but rather the use of Light. A change of gear won't make anyone look at your photos and start saying, "WOW! Those are great!" You'll simply have very slightly sharper/more saturated images of your same old crap. Over the past two decades I've spent well over $20,000 on photo gear of various categories and formats. With the possible exception of my little excursion into 8x10, I was always disappointed after buying new cameras. I learned to dramatically lower my expectations when I bought a new camera. Once it finally sunk in that just buying new gear was not going to make me a better photographer or my photos more interesting, my photos began to improve.

So, what will give you the best chance of making better landscape photos? Photos that will have your family et friends saying, "Your shots are better now than they used to be?" Rest assured it's not a new camera. You need to learn how to see & use Light. That's what great photography is generally all about. There are three things you can spend money on to do this. First, you live in the UK. Look up on the web for a Scottish guy named Ian Cameron. This guy has totally mastered use of Light and could shoot masterpieces with a $5 camera I am sure. He gives weekend workshops. Check his website and seriously consider signing up. The second thing is this. Find what you consider to be 50 spectacular photos and study them. No, not just look at them--analyze them--Use of Light. Learn to recognize the different kinds of light and form an image in your head first, then create the image. The third thing is this. You will tend to take better photos of things that engage you emotionally. My favorite saying around here is I would rather have a $100 point & shoot camera and a ticket to Iceland than a Nikon D4 but no money to go anywhere. Last summer I was in Scotland--Inverness, Oban, Skye, Hebrides, Highlands, etc. The light there was very soft, and the scenery was spectacular! Having that was better than having expensive camera gear. (And Iceland is even more spectacular than Scotland.)


--->Take a few workshops, learn how to use Light, and go find scenery that touches your very soul. Create images that put those feelings into your photos.

http://www.transientlight.co.uk/

http://www.ianplant.com/




Kent in SD

--> "You can learn a lot from traveling around Iceland with a photographer.
He talks about Light. He's constantly preoccupied with Light."

--Unnur Jokulsdottir, Reykjavik



Jun 25, 2013 at 04:14 AM
jasoncallen
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p.3 #8 · p.3 #8 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


RRRoger wrote:
I personally have not found the 18-35, 24-85, or any of the 70-300 lens to be as good as the 28-300.



The 18-35 is better than the 28-300 from 18-27mm


Two23 wrote:
2. And then at least that much for expensive FX lenses. How much money do you want to have tied up in camera gear? (That is constantly losing value.)

3. The Nikon 18-35mm AFD was one of the worst lenses I've owned. Lots of distortion at the wider end. Yeah, 20 years ago it was considered to be a pretty good lens. I've tried many ultrawide lenses and the best is still the Tokina 11-16mm. To get a lens that good for FX, you'll have to spend $1,800 for the NIkon 14-24mm.


Kent, camera gear is not an investment that holds value, any more than a car. You get mileage out of it, and it gets you from point "A" to point "B", and it's a good car. If the camera or lens gets you the shot for years at a time, it's a great camera. You use it until you use it up, and until it's cheaper to replace than to fix, and you get the latest model you can afford that does what you need it to. I spent $3500 on a refurbished D2H... which I can get for about $300 now - but I beat the snot out of that camera, made some great pictures with it over the course of years, and got my money's worth out of it before I put it on the shelf when it's mirror box stopped working.

I'm a firm believer in cameras being treated like tools, not luxury items. Not to say I beat my gear around, but I actually use it. I make my living with cameras - and though in the past year I've bought over $50,000 worth of video and still cameras, I don't look at what the cameras are worth today (I try not to, actually... the second it comes out of the box, that $1000 you'll never see again! haha) - I look back at what they were worth to me on location while filming and shooting paying work, or serious hobby work. Carpenters have hammers, chisels, etc, I have cameras, lenses, and lights. What I make with my tools is what my gear is worth.

If you're buying any photo-related gear as a financial investment, buy rare and antique glass (Nikon 300mm f/2 AI, anyone?), shelve it until you have the sole surviving copy in mint condition and sell it for a killing to a collector... but you won't get much use out of that chunk of glass sitting on a shelf. I believe the OP wants to buy the right gear to get the right shots, not flip rare gear to collectors.

Also, the 18-35 AFD, though it has some moustache-shaped distortion, is one of the best sized, light weight, low price quality lenses out there if you're shooting more PJ style wide shots, rather than architecture (terrible for that usage). That said, to match the 11-16mm f/2.8, you have very few options on FX, and the most comparable lenses in quality (Nikon 14-24/2.8 AFS, Tokina 16-28/2.8, Rokinon 14/2.8) do not accept filters easily (and you need 4x4 filters), whereas the 11-16/2.8 takes a standard 77mm. That low-cost D700 may seem like a good deal, until you get sticker shock on the lenses that make it sing.



Jun 25, 2013 at 04:35 AM
the solitaire
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p.3 #9 · p.3 #9 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Two23 wrote:
1. You will likely see NO difference, let alone a great one. No one looking at your photos will be able to tell any difference at all.



That is not always true.

When I switched from analog to digital I had a Sigma 28-70 lens and a Nikon 80-200 that always served me well on analog. On digital however the images from the Sigma just didnīt come to life.

At first I thought it was because of the dynamic range of those old sensors. When I picked up a 105 VR micro Nikkor however I noticed how big a gap in quality existed between the pictures made with that old Sigma and the new Nikon lens.

It was not only color cast, there was a huge lack of contrast in the Sigma lens and pictures made with it seemed constantly underexposed. Everyone looking at my pictures SOOC could see the difference between the Sigma and the micro Nikkor at first glance, and that was not only the field of view.



Jun 25, 2013 at 07:11 AM
Frogfish
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p.3 #10 · p.3 #10 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


frankpetronio wrote:
Frankly when I see somebody all decked out with a rack of 2.8 zooms and the latest "pro" bodies, I tend to categorize them as somewhere between a beginner and an intermediate amateur photographer ;-p


I think more than a few pros, semi-pros and advanced amateurs will be a little upset with your characterisation of them



Jun 25, 2013 at 11:04 AM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



Frogfish
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p.3 #11 · p.3 #11 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Mark_L wrote:
For what it is worth even the D800 feels like a toy unless you add a grip.


Coughs, splutters and spits out coffee ! Guess you must be coming from a 645 then



Jun 25, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Frogfish
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p.3 #12 · p.3 #12 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Your 10k D300s is just a teenager, a D700 with 1,600 clicks is a virtual virgin !

I was on dx for a few years before switching brands (Pentax to Nikon) and I have to say that an fx camera is a wonderful tool in a number of important areas (depending on what you shoot) and although I miss a few lenses from Pentax (esp. Pentax 77 ltd and Cosina 55/1.2) I've otherwise not regretted the move once.
Since you and your wife are landscape-orientated I'd think the fx D700 a better tool for you. It's all horses for courses though and you need to know which course you are running on

Hire a D700 for a week ... if you like it you know what to do, it you don't go the better glass route. Hiring may save you an expensive mistake so don't think of it as lost money.



Jun 25, 2013 at 11:23 AM
surreal612
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p.3 #13 · p.3 #13 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


When I was using D40 6 years ago my friends always say "nice pictures" on my prints. Now that I am using D700 my friends and family always say "Wow awesome photos!! What a camera you have!"


Jun 25, 2013 at 01:22 PM
Maki65
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p.3 #14 · p.3 #14 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Two23 wrote:
1. You will likely see NO difference, let alone a great one. No one looking at your photos will be able to tell any difference at all.

2. And then at least that much for expensive FX lenses. How much money do you want to have tied up in camera gear? (That is constantly losing value.)

3. The Nikon 18-35mm AFD was one of the worst lenses I've owned. Lots of distortion at the wider end. Yeah, 20 years ago it was considered to be a pretty good lens. I've tried many ultrawide lenses and the best is still the Tokina 11-16mm.
...Show more

A few wise words, thank you. I have no desire to just spend money for the sake of it and improving my skills with what I have does make sense.

As always there are many opinions and I have to say all well meaning and considered and I thank you all for the time you have taken, it is appreciated.

I have a couple of weeks off in a week and a half and then I will decide what I am going to do. I find it hard during the week after days at work to make proper decisions so I will wait a short while when I have real quality time on my hands to think and take pictures also.

On my last week off I spent a day on my own dedicated to the task of taking pictures and it was time well spent, possibly the most relaxing day I have had in a long while.



Jun 25, 2013 at 08:11 PM
RRRoger
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p.3 #15 · p.3 #15 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!



A few wise words, thank you. I have no desire to just spend money for the sake of it and improving my skills with what I have does make sense.



This is NAS speaking:

OH NO! you can't do that.
don't waste time learning how to use the equipment you already have.

You need, must have the latest and greatest.
Please buy a D7100 then a D700, D600, D800, and D800e in that order.
Also get a D3, D3s and D4.
While you are at it, get the full gauntlet of lens.
You deserve the best and Nikon needs your money to develop a new camera
that makes yours "Obsolete".
Just think how "Professional" you will look with a D4 and Monster Lens.
If someone is not convinced how good you are,
Put everything in automatic, choose P, just spin the dial to CH and click away.
After the 100+ shot buffer fills in a few seconds,
there is bound to be something good on there, right?


Jun 25, 2013 at 10:42 PM
MDoc9523
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p.3 #16 · p.3 #16 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


I love my D7000 it still takes beautiful photos but the D600 is just plain better. It is so nice to have an actual 50mm lens again. Just like my film days


Jun 26, 2013 at 05:19 AM
Maki65
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p.3 #17 · p.3 #17 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


MDoc9523 wrote:
I love my D7000 it still takes beautiful photos but the D600 is just plain better. It is so nice to have an actual 50mm lens again. Just like my film days



This is one of the main reasons I am thinking of a change.



Jun 26, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Two23
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p.3 #18 · p.3 #18 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Maki65 wrote:
This is one of the main reasons I am thinking of a change.



I shoot many, many different formats: DX, 35mm, 645, 6x6, 6x9, 6x17, 4x5, half plate. I once was shooting 8x10. I have no doubt I'll pick up a 4/3 camera & lenses at some point as I love the compactness for travel. A 90mm on DX is a medium telephoto; on 8x10 it's a wide angle. None of this bothers me as I don't think of a lens by the focal length, but rather by what it does. For my D7100 I have an ultrawide zoom, a midrange zoom, and a long zoom. It's very simple. There is nothing at all special about the 35mm format. Professionally, I shot 645 anyway, not 35mm.


Kent in SD



Jun 26, 2013 at 11:56 PM
Fingerstyle78
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p.3 #19 · p.3 #19 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Maki65 wrote:
If the D600 handles like the D7000 which I nearly bought last time, no thanks. The D300s fits my hands far better. I do have largish hands and the D7000 felt like a toy compared to the D300s.


The D600 is slightly bigger than the D7000. Go to your local photo store and check one out. If it feels too small, throw the battery grip on there and you should be cured. To me it's more about comfort with the controls. Coming from the D7000 I'm very comfortable with it.

My GF has the D800 and it's just awesome. I do prefer the layout to the D600 for sure. My 14mm Samyang does a decent job on it with the exception of some distortion, but for 400 bucks I can live with it for now.

We got her D800 refurbished for $2350. I got my D600 refurbished for $1585 with free shipping. You could pick up a used D700 on Amazon for $1300. The 700 is a bit outdated but for the price of a new D800 you could get the 600 and the 700 refurbished/used. Just my two cents.

The D700 would be a nice comfortable step up from your D300S though.



Jun 27, 2013 at 03:24 AM
Maki65
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p.3 #20 · p.3 #20 · Nikon D300s upgrade or What!


Thank you all again for the comments, they are all sensible and considered. I must admit after reading a lot of this I wonder if there really is much difference in an image with equivalent lenses for the format. Enough difference that you could tell, after all if the picture is a good picture that is all that matters in the end...I think!

What I mean is, if you had a 50mm lens on a D700 or D800 and a 35mm on a D300s, at a normal size how hard would it be to see a significant difference?



Jun 27, 2013 at 06:44 PM
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