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Old 11-25-2012, 11:54 AM #1
reddogphoto
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Need some help from the ST: P Nikon shooters

Careful, long post ahead. I just trust the opinions of the photographers here more so than any other forum. Good crowd here.

I was at this point a year ago, then tried some other things and now I'm right back where I started. I'd shot for a long time on APS-H, but had a stronger desire for the full frame look. The better part of a year ago, I sold my backup 1D and purchased a 5D Mark II. While the 5D is an excellent camera and I love many of the images I've produced with it, I find myself hitting my personal limits in many cases, especially compared to my remaining 1D Mark III. I'm now again considering a total switch to Nikon, swapping both bodies out in favor of a single D3s.

Some of my problems with the 5D have been:
  • While the body focuses accurately and tracks motion well with the center point in good light, I shoot a LOT now in low ambient where it suffers tremendously. Over the summer shooting softball, I didn't have the first problem, and now that I'm between seasons shooting a lot of natural light family oriented stuff, I have issues with missed focus or slow lock times.
  • While it's handy to have a compact body that doesn't attract a lot of attention, I'm a big handed individual, and a pro body fits me better in terms of layout and handling.
  • I miss having more than one useful autofocus point.
  • I TREMENDOUSLY miss af-point linked spot metering.
  • The amount of customization functions I have on the 1D puts the 5D to shame. I can make the 1D -my- camera, whereas I feel like I have to live with Canon's intentions on the 5D.
  • I don't feel like I really get any better low light performance out of the 5D.

I've considered my other options for staying with Canon, notably the 1Ds Mark III, the 1D Mark IV, and the 5D Mark III. The 1Ds doesn't address my low light concerns, the Mark IV tosses out my beloved full frame look, and the new 5D doesn't have pro body customization or advanced features. The 1Dx would probably be perfect, but that's well out of my budget. I also feel like Canon is putting a lot of (even too much) emphasis on video, and I'm 100% a still shooter with little interest in video outside of general playing around.

I've looked closely over the past week at the D700, D800, and D3s, and I feel that the D3s will meet my needs. While I may at times miss the crop flexibility of 21.1 megapixels, the D3s has roughly the same density as my 1D, only on an FX sensor. It has the speed and versatility for shooting the variety of work I do, and from reading the owner's manual it appears I'll have the customization options I'm looking for as well.

Now the big question is where to go with glass. Nikon's wide array of lenses with no clearly defined "pro" level like canon's L series makes things a bit confusing for a newcomer to the system. I'm beginning to get a grip on the terminology, but the truly confusing point is where some opinions go that some older builds of a lens are equal to or superior than the newer ones.

I'm not much of a zoom person, I'm a big fan of fat, fast prime lenses. For a general benchmark, here's what I shoot with on Canon:
  • Tokina 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX - My wide angle workhorse, and one of the few places I'm happy to have a zoom. Thinking about replacing this with the 14-24mm f/2.8G. While that lens is twice the price, I've heard its performance is quite legendary.
  • Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L - My choice environmental / lifestyle portrait lens. Works great in low light. Thanks to Jimmy Hickey, I've frequently considered moving to the Canon 24mm L, but never made the jump. My consideration to replace this is either the 24mm or 35mm f/1.4G.
  • Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX HSM - My least used lens, I keep it around for when 35mm is too wide and 85mm is too long. Compact and unintimidating, its performance isn't terrible, but doesn't knock anything out of the park either. It will be the lens I'll be the least upset about selling, I much prefer my FD 50mm, but that won't fit on my EF bodies. I've heard there's a grab bag of cheap, fast, well performing normal primes out there for Nikon if I care to replace it in my bag.
  • Sigma 85mm f/1.4 EX HSM - My favorite portrait lens, a tad long on APS-H but a home run on full frame. I've created some great stuff with it. Sad thing is, like my other Sigma prime it can't focus worth a damn in low light, even on the 1D. I went with this lens over the Canon L for both cost considerations, as well as the fact that if focuses much faster than the 85L. As for replacement, I keep hearing that it's a tossup between the 85mm 1.4D and 1.4G, I'm interested in hearing opinions on which I should go with.
  • Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L (non-IS) - Since I prefer primes, I rarely dig this out unless I need more reach than the 85mm, and it's not appropriate or too inconvenient to break out the heavy artillery that is my 300L. Replacing it with the VRII is out of the question due to upgrade costs, but I'm considering a VR1 if I can find one at a decent price. I don't need VR for sports, but it would be handy for low light doc/pj work.
  • Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L (non-IS) - The lens I'll hate to lose. I don't use it much, but when I need it, it's great to have an nails off excellent shots. Works well with my 2X II for a 600mm f/5.6 reach. I don't know that I'll be able to afford replacing it, but if anyone has any suggestions I'm wide open.
  • Canon EF extender 2X II - A teleconverter, I don't think these vary much from manufacturer to manufacturer. It's used exclusively with the 300L, and generally stays in the 300L's case.

I'm interested in hearing suggestions from the Nikon crowd on what glass to go with. Going by current market values, I should be able to get around $6500 for all of my glass, so I need to stay in that range overall. My general requirements for a lens is that it can grab focus fast in lousy situations, and have the build quality to stand up to heavy use and frequent transport. While I have my specialties, I shoot a bit of everything. I may be behind the foul line at a softball game one afternoon, shooting commercial truck ad photos the next, doing landscapes over the weekend, then covering an accident scene the next night with some family portraits scheduled the next day. No matter what I'm shooting though, it has to look good. I don't like putting out poor quality work.

Fire away, and thanks in advance for the help!
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:25 PM #2
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Ill write up a quickie when im not on my phone, at work, on the toilet
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Old 11-25-2012, 02:28 PM #3
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Word, thanks bro.
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Old 11-26-2012, 02:48 PM #4
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if someone handed me 6500 to spend.... ill round to 7000 for a good investment

the trouble is fat Nikon glass is pretty pricey now that everyone switched over.... A comparable 300 will cost you your entire budget :/

D3 --------------------1800 - 2500
70-200/2.8vrI ---------1000 - 1500
17-35 2.8 --------------800 - 1000
85 1.8g ----------------320 - 420
50 1.8g ----------------120 - 200
28 1.8g -----------------50 - 700
1.4x II -----------------300 - 400
2x16GB Extreme Pro--------150

total:---------------$5,050 - $6,870

if you end up hitting all the left column prices you could snag a sigma 120-300 or nikkor 300/2.8 af-I for around 2 grand.

Orrrrrr get another d3, or a d700 and pocket the switchover cash, and start saving for a boss 300
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Old 11-26-2012, 05:36 PM #5
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Oh **** bro, that figure is for glass alone. I've got a new body covered in selling my existing Canon ones. Does that juggle up your figures any? Also, are the 1.4g primes considerably stronger in build and image quality than the 1.8g's?
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:52 PM #6
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That it does. If you already have a d3s covered you prob can get a 300 afs

The 1.8's are pretty much identical build wise to the 1.4's and the 1.8's have better mtfs and are substantially cheaper.

Once again im on my phone so ill jumble the numbers when i hit a computer
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:31 PM #7
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Cool, thanks for all the help man, should I pull trigger on this I really want to get everything turned around quickly and be back on my feet with full kit as soon as possible.

Is there even a comprehensive, easy to navigate lens guide out there for Nikon? I know on the Canon side there's POTN's massive lens sample archive, as well as The Digital Picture if you can read between that dude's BS. The latter added a huge Nikon section over a year ago, to which he's added absolutely ZERO content. I've been by Ken Rockwell's site a few times, but he strikes me as a childish, opinionated douchebag.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:02 PM #8
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Join nikon cafe, true hidden gem of the interwebz. It is comperable to potn, minus the whining and stupid people. They have threads on threads of just lens examples....
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:03 PM #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pbjunkiee View Post
It is comperable to potn, minus the whining and stupid people.


*edit* Now that I've joined, I realize my night is SHOT. I'll be up until 3am now.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:30 PM #10
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luls

so how much do you have to spend on a body? because id rather have 2 d3's and not a single d3s
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:53 PM #11
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Probably a tad over three grand, maybe a little more depending on holiday finances.

I've waffled back and forth a lot on the D3 vs. the D3s, and I was leaning toward the D3s as a lot of what I read says that the D3s isn't worth the upgrade if you already own a D3, but if you're buying in new it makes better sense. I also don't mind going back to a single body so much, as I hate shooting with two at once. The extra stop of low light performance intrigues me a lot, as I hate shooting with lights and want to push more into what I can shoot on available dark.

I'd much rather have a D4 (who wouldn't), but even at used market price right now, I'm looking at close to 1Dx territory price-wise. If I could swing that, I might as well not even go through the trouble of switching systems. I could probably do it by downsizing on glass, but I value my glass diversity.
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:02 PM #12
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Im not going to let you have a single body man, bad idea mang. i just had a shutter go out on me, grabbed my second body and didnt miss a beat.

D300 ------------------- 450 - 550
300/2.8 afsI ----------- 2500 - 3500
70-200/2.8vrI --------- 1000 - 1500
17-35 2.8 -------------- 800 - 1000
85 1.8g ---------------- 320 - 420
50 1.8g ---------------- 120 - 200
28 1.8g ---------------- 500 - 700
1.4x II ----------------- 300 - 400
2x16GB Extreme Pro--------150

total:---------------$6,140 - $8,420
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Old 11-26-2012, 10:14 PM #13
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anndddd

http://nikonrumors.com/
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:46 PM #14
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You're suggesting the D300 as a backup? I can probably make that happen depending on how clean I can get out of my existing gear.
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Old 11-27-2012, 12:54 PM #15
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Yea, you can get them for cheap and theyre good to about 3200
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:17 PM #16
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Forget the 50 1.8g. Just get the 1.8D I use it and it's great! The AF is nice and smooth.

I base that off of having the 85 1.8G. The canon 85 1.8 was a bit faster but it is what it is.

I also have the 24 2.8d, 35 f/2d, 60 2.8d micro, and 300 f/4. I don't see much of a difference of AF speed from the D to G series lenses (I'm limited, though).

I haven't messed with a 1d series camera so I don't know how the AF is on them. However, coming from 40d, 7d, 60d, 5di, 5dii . . . The nikon d700 absolutely craps on all of them except for the 7d customization (not AF speed, or selection, just the options of pairing, etc.).

So while you can go with all G series lenses there's not much of a difference between D and G with a pro-series body driving the lens except for price from what I've experienced. I have no idea about lenses at longer focal lengths though with big glass.

The biggest reason to go Nikon though is the DR and shadow detail. With Canon anytime I shot low light and wanted to bring some stuff up I'd get horrible artifacts, lots of noise, etc. With Nikon I can push the darks a lot more and everything is super manageable. It's just due to the fact that the sensors do a great job of getting more of the scene correct from the get go.

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Old 11-27-2012, 06:31 PM #17
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Nikon was pretty supreme on detail for a while, Canon is bringing it back though. The 5D3 is better at higher iso than the D700 from what I've read.

Also, the note about Canon being very video focused is absolutely true. Nikon's largest peripheral strength is their strobes and creative lighting system while Canon's is their excellent support for videography.

Check out this 5-part article for some great info on the 5D3 vs D700 and just strengths/weaknesses of Canon vs Nikon in general.
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:33 PM #18
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Are we just ignoring the d800 now?
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:33 PM #19
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Pretty much. I like the extra dynamic range of the D800, but it's not a necessity. I kinda feel that 34mp is a bit much for a 135 format sensor, plus it's a slow beast.

Also, and this may sound odd, but one thing I do like about the 5D over the D700/D800 is the lack of a pop-up flash. I don't need one, therefore I'd prefer not to have it there where it can break. Just a minor picky point.

I'll probably drop the 50mm focal length. I don't see myself doing anything with it that I couldn't already do with a fast prime in the 24 to 35mm range. Gonna put together a wish list plan here soon, make the final call then start dumping gear before I get any more depreciation in my bodies.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:14 PM #20
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Haha, ted i wasnt meaning for you. Just stuid how people compare 2 seperate generations of cameras.

Lets compare a brand new camera to one produced over three years ago. Hrmm i wonder which one may tale the lead? Next up, lets compare a D4 against a 1DIIn
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Old 11-28-2012, 05:05 PM #21
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Man oh man, think I just might pull trigger and list my 1D and 300L for sale this evening and get the process started. The big hitters like the D3s, 17-35 and 70-200 will by my immediate priorities for replacement.

I almost feel like I'm cheating on my wife or something. Like dumping her for some young hot model and jumping into the unknown...
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