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Thread: a FF decision with no legacy glass

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    a FF decision with no legacy glass

    After shooting some situations where I really could have used good hi iso, I'm re-jigging my systems. My p&s is fine (DLux4), and I have been using E-P1 for "higher quality street" with Pentax K20d and ltd primes for "more serious" stuff. I'm more on the art side of things, but do end up shooting for work on occasion, mostly documenting events and projects.

    So last week I shot the K20d, 5Dmk2 and D700 back to back. I was impressed with all three (for different reasons), with the 5Dmk2 and D700 winning hi iso easily. The D700 ended up giving a bit more "crisp" files (shot tiff) but these were shop demo cameras and I didn't have time to tweak settings so I'm not sure how much to read into things. The 5Dmk2 felt better in my hand, but D700 was better built. D700 had some AF misbehavior - not sure if it was thrashed or settings.

    So never one to hesitate much, I sold off a few of my Pentax FA ltd lenses and E-P1 kit with the plan of getting a FF setup and using the Pentax as a "high quality street," possibly switching to a K7 body with my remaining 43/1.9 and 50-135*. The GF1 and possible Leica lower end might push the Pentax out for the street thing, but I still want the FF.

    So with no legacy glass, any advice? I'm starting from scratch. I had a Nikon D70 a few years back and did like the 105 micro, but that is long gone. There aren't any ltd prime equivalents in Canikon land as far as I can tell, but I'd likely get some hi quality zooms as they are much easier to use when I'm doing events, along with a few fast primes. Seems like Nikon is a bit pricier for equivalent glass at the moment.

    This being the Canon board I figure the 5Dmk2 would get the nod, but the getdpi community is a lot more balanced than some other ones (to remain nameless) and many here seem to shoot different systems.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Well it's a great question, but one with with no easy answer IMO -- either system is great and either camera you mention is great within its respective system. So the good news is you can hardly go wrong either way!

    Here's my .02. I made a decision to sell all my 35 gear a while back when I switched to MF. that turned out to be a mistake, so about 8 months later I was buying back in -- and for me, it really didn't matter whose system because I feel they are both very good. But here are some simple thoughts to consider that helped me:

    1) Lens mount direction. Nikon is and always has been bass-akwards, making you unscrew the lens to attach it. Canon runs normal as "righty-tighty/lefty-loosie."

    2) Dealer support and system depth in your area. Fortunately, bodies and lenses for either system can be found in every major city in the world, so you're not totally hosed if traveling and need a hasty replacement.

    3) A little tidbit that gives Canon a slight edge --- virtually any other camera lens can be pretty easily adapted to a Canon body, including legacy Nikon glass...

    4) You do get more MP with the 5DII compared to the D700 and correspondingly more enlargability, but overall IQ remains very close --- and I suspect we will see a D700X very soon...

    #1 and #3 are the main reasons I chose Canon over Nikon -- and as you can see, they are not really very significant points.

    Again, you can't go wrong wither way,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Thanks for the input. I think it is somewhat picking at nits and much more down to small/subtle differences.

    If you go below the equator does the Nikon reverse threading?

    I like the build quality of the D700 better, but the 5Dmk2 feels better in my hand (despite the creaking). Plus I like the size/weight of the 70-200/f4 USM IS on the Canon. I shoot handheld and the Nikon 70-200/f2.8, while faster is a tank. No free lunch.

    It seems like almost at a coin flip...

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Nostatic, it sounds like you need to come to the dark side and look at Sony. The A900's high ISO is still better than APS-C, and near the 5Dii/D3x when using DxO Optics. The low ISO....wow.

    The A900 has a better build than the 5Dii, and you'll get stabilization with the sweet Zeiss lenses. The viewfinder...wow again.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Other points do you shoot low light a lot. Nikon has no autofocus 35 mm f1.4 or 24 mm f1.4. Are you a landscape guy canon has the new tilt and shift lenses. They are very expensive though. Or are you a wideangle zoom guy nikon has the 14 -35 zoom of great quality . Make a decision based on the glass you need or want. David

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I love the files from the A900, and the Zeiss glass makes me feel all flush. The problem is that every test I've seen indicates that the high iso is a stop or two behind the Canikon. Plus I have a thing about Sony as a company. They have pissed me off in the past and evidently I hold a grudge well

    I shoot low light a lot, so that is critical. I'm not particularly a wide fanatic, though I do need that every once in awhile. Basically the FF setup will be for when I need a really good file under really bad conditions. If I've got a bunch of light, APS-C with the Pentax glass I've got is fine.

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    With the Sony, you'll be in between your Pentaxes and the 5dii, but closer to the 5dii. If high ISO is top priority, go D700.

    FWIW: http://www.alpha-numerique.fr/index....pro&Itemid=317

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    With the Sony, you'll be in between your Pentaxes and the 5dii, but closer to the 5dii. If high ISO is top priority, go D700.

    FWIW: http://www.alpha-numerique.fr/index....pro&Itemid=317
    That is an interesting comparison. Is it just me, or do the 5Dmk2 images look better than the D3x?

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    Senior Member douglasf13's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I think part of the problem there is that the 5dii wasn't upsized to match the other two (or vice versa.) Interestingly, Sony likes what DxO is doing to their files so much that they are including with the A850 in Europe.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I went with Sony, but high ISO is not a concern. I shoot happily up to about ISO 1250. All my "legacy" (read: existing) glass is Leica.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    When downsizing the 5DMkII images to D700 size it is very hard to tell there is a difference with regards to noise. The Canon has more details though. The conclusion is that we have seen a lot of posts on the Net lately talking about the D700 as the noise king - but perhaps based on 100% crops compared directly.

    My point is that it doesn't matter what camera you choose (high ISO criteria).

    I agree with the posters above saying you should look into the whole system and what lenses you need. This is probably more important than one feature here or there.

    My choice was the 5DMkII - I like to play with old lenses and the EOS cameras can take most lenses. And then another reason: size and weight. The 5D is the only FF camera possible to squeeze into my old favorite satchel bag. Hmm. Does that help?

    I think you'll be happy with any of the FF offerings. 2.5 stops lower noise and acces to fast lenses in usable focal lengths make a world of difference.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Jonas View Post
    When downsizing the 5DMkII images to D700 size it is very hard to tell there is a difference with regards to noise. The Canon has more details though. The conclusion is that we have seen a lot of posts on the Net lately talking about the D700 as the noise king - but perhaps based on 100% crops compared directly..
    I've noticed this, and fell prey to it while looking at my quick and dirty test. When I instead cropped to the same area of the shot (rather than the same size of a 100% zoom), it was pretty much a wash.

    I have to say for whatever reason I'm smitten with the 70-200/f4 though I haven't shot with one. I just hate the idea of hauling around the 2.8 equivalent. I just wish there was IS in the 24-70/f2.8. I read varying opinions on the 24-105/f4 IS.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Jonas, I tend to agree with that sentiment. However, Iliah Borg, who owns and tests all of these cameras, still gives the D700 the nod for best high ISO IQ, even when upsampled in print to match the 5Dii.

    Personally, I went with the Sony I preferred the feel and handling of the camera, and stabilization (including 24-70) and a great viewfinder are at the top of my needs list. However, all of these cameras are really, really good, each having strengths/weaknesses.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post

    Personally, I went with the Sony I preferred the feel and handling of the camera, and stabilization (including 24-70) and a great viewfinder are at the top of my needs list. However, all of these cameras are really, really good, each having strengths/weaknesses.
    At this point I'm close to a coin flip, but continue to lean towards Canon. I like the Sony, but hate the company and am still cranky about some tech decisions they've made in the past. I apparently enjoy beating dead horses

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I hear you, but Sony is so large, that such an issue is similar to buying a bad G.E. toaster (or jet engine) and then not watching NBC because of it. I'm sure you still see Sony Pictures movies, right? I'm just teasing.

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I hear you, but Sony is so large, that such an issue is similar to buying a bad G.E. toaster (or jet engine) and then not watching NBC because of it. I'm sure you still see Sony Pictures movies, right? I'm just teasing.
    Actually I don't watch NBC. But that's because Letterman never returns my calls. And Phoneman never writes back.

    And don't get me started on toasters...is it so hard to get both sides the same level of toasting? Of course maybe if they did put jet engines in the toasters then they would work ok. Now *that* would make a good movie... :sleep006:

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Difficult choice, and one I'm also considering for my coming upgrade. So far, my list looks like this:

    Canon for legacy glass and all round usability, but in my case not for ergonomics.
    Nikon for high ISO, ergonomics and ruggedness.
    Sony for in-body IS, low ISO resolution, colours and Zeiss lenses.

    In my view, Nikon is hard to beat in the ergonomics area, and that was one of the reasons to choose Nikon cameras when I changed to digital four years ago. There are two reasons why I'm considering an additional system when upgrading:

    Nikon doesn't have a very high resolution camera below the D3X, at least not at the moment.
    I have a lot of very nice OM glass that I would like to use digitally. Canon, 4/3 and m4/3 are the only options for that, and Canon is the only one that will mount them on a full frame camera and a camera with more than 12MP. Your 43mm Limited will also mount on the 5DII with an adapter.

    Unfortunately, my brain is designed differently from those at the engineering department at Canon, something that always troubles me when using Canon cameras. I am also critical to the output from Canon, but since I only shoot RAW, there are ways around that. Actually, from what I've seen so far, the 7D seems to be the Canon with the most pleasing out-of-the-box images, but it's in no way full frame, and although it's better at high ISO than your K20D, it doesn't offer much more resolution.

    Just my 2c.

    Edit: It must be said also, that I'm considering staying with crop cameras as an option too, and the K7 (for in-body IS, lenses and size) and 7D (for features, legacy lenses and resolution) are candidates as well as the D300s. But since I never seem to be able to make up my mind, I'll probably end up buying a camera by accident, simply because it's on the shelf in the shop, and I have the monies in my pocket
    Last edited by Jorgen Udvang; 2nd September 2009 at 17:12.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    Actually I don't watch NBC. But that's because Letterman never returns my calls. And Phoneman never writes back.

    And don't get me started on toasters...is it so hard to get both sides the same level of toasting? Of course maybe if they did put jet engines in the toasters then they would work ok. Now *that* would make a good movie... :sleep006:
    Wow, no NBC, huh? You must hate GE more than I realized.

    Speaking of toasters, I got married a few months ago, and my wife and I put this Breville toaster on our registry for fun. I couldn't believe when someone actually bought it for us, and, I swear, it is my favorite piece of non-photography gear in the house! It's all automatic, and cooks very evenly. It must have toast stabilization built-in! I actually make people eat toast when they come over so I can show it off.

    check out the toaster here:
    http://www.macys.com/catalog/product...BannerID=PD677

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I can't comment on Nikon because I've only used them occasionally and have never owned one. But I was a Canon owner for years and years (since the F1!) and found them generally to be outstanding for long lenses but a bit weak in the WA department.

    Last year I switched to Sony and now have most of their Zeiss and G lenses and I like the camera very much - intuitive, straightforward, not too many cluttering bells and whistles, in body stabilization and a viewfinder as bright as my MF gear. And I find ISOs as high as 1250 perfectly useable if processed in C1.

    Having said all that, I feel the differences in these cameras is technically so small that I'd make the choice simply on emotion - which just plain appeals to you most. Call it intuition if you like - the fact is you won't be disappointed with any of them.

    Good luck in choosing!
    Bill

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I was a photographer for a large government agency for the last 33 years.
    We had 7 photographers shooting Nikon, Canon, Pentax, and many
    medium format brands.

    All cameras were owned by the agency, and cameras checked out for use.

    Canon's were the favored brand for this small set of photographers.
    We experienced many more repairs on the Nikon equipment than the Canon.
    The Nikons feel like they have the build quality advantage but in use it did not
    prove to be real.

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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Well, got to try out the 70-200/f4 IS lens today and I am quite smitten. Ordered up the 5Dmk2 24-105 kit from my local shop as I think that I'll prefer the size and IS to the 24-70, and will grab the 70-200 and probably the 50/1.4. That should hold me (and crush my credit card) for awhile. I hate to pay the sales tax (close to 10% in LA) but my local shop has been cool about letting me demo so I think the penalty is worth it.

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