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Thread: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Ok I could have post this question on the Leica R, Canon, or Nikon but since the Nikon is the least posted threads, I will post the question here: Which full frame 35 mm DSLR system would you consider and why?

    1. Canon 1Ds Mark III

    2. Leica R10

    3. Nikon D3
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    I would consider any of them, but some are more likely than others.

    1. Canon 1Ds Mark III
    For some reason, Canon has never been on my shopping-list, except for p&s. There's something about the ergonomics that doesn't suit me. Another reason, and this is important for me: I would never consider buying a big, white lens. Some of the places I go to take photos (villages and slums in Asia), showing off with big, white, obviously expensive gear is not a good idea.

    2. Leica R10
    This is my future plan. I prefer manual focus, and I get more and more obsessed with fast, sharp lenses. At this stage, the R10 is waporware, and I haven't really found a bank that is easy enough for me to rob and to get away with it, but some time in the future, hopefully the not too distant one, I'm going to have one. I actually consider buying a used R8 or R9 (no DMR) and one or two lenses, just to get started.

    3. Nikon D3
    This is a tempting camera, and the most logical way for me to enter the world of full frame, since I own a few Nikkor lenses. I don't need umpteen fps, and I'm not sure that a camera with built-in vertical grip is something that I want for everyday use (I travel a lot, and I travel light), but this is a camera that can do more or less everything I want a camera to do right now.

    It's on my "shopping list B" at the moment. What is tempting with the D3 is what seems to be great image quality at all ISO-numbers, rock solid build, and functionality that, as far as I can gather, isn't surpassed by any competitor (except maybe the Olympus E-3, but I'm going to buy that one anyway).

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    I will have to see the R10 to know if it is worth giving up my DMR. If the main focus (pun intended) is autofocus then I would not likely get it. I have a fortune invested in manual R glass and since my focus is landscapes I have little need for autofocus. On the other hand if the R10 takes advantage of some of the newest Kodak innovations in sensor technology there may be compelling reasons to buy it. Must wait and see.

    I have a Canon 5D as a backup to the DMR and where I can also use my Zeiss glass as well as the R glass. I will wait for the successor to the 5D to determine if there is a need fulfilled. I still am not entranced with Canon files compared to the DMR or the M8 so I see this strictly as a backup. I own no Canon glass and have never found a reason to get any.

    I have owned Nikons for years and still have a sizeable collection of glass. Now that the D3 is out I must admit that for sports, wildlife, and grandchildren shooting this looks very attractive. At $3K less than the 1DsMkIII it becomes even more attractive given it is also full frame.

    Except for the investment in Nikon lenses frankly I have become really spoiled by the Leica files and so I will probably wait for the R10 to become a reality and then decide.

    woody spedden

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    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    Except for the investment in Nikon lenses frankly I have become really spoiled by the Leica files and so I will probably wait for the R10 to become a reality and then decide.
    Same for me. I've not been impressed with Canon files or glass and the DMR and Leica lenses have completely spoiled me. I've got a few manual-focus Nikkors (ED 300 f/4.5, ED 400 f/5.6, 55 f/3.5) so the D3 is mildly interesting but what's more likely is I'll find a pot of gold and wait for the R10 to become reality.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    If I want ultimate quality ... none of the selections listed. 39 meg MF digital using Zeiss glass would be, and is, my weapon of choice.

    I use 35mm type DSLRs for documentary wedding work where AF speed, sophisticated flash control, and high ISO ability trumps ultimate file quality.

    That eliminates manual focus R solutions. If the R-10 is AF and it's as good as Canon AF, then it's a possible future camera for me.

    Since I have a fortune sunk into Canon glass, the Nikon is out. Sounds like a good camera for my application, and if I were just starting out it'd be a serious contender.

    So, it's the Canon 1DsMKIII ... which I have on order.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Well, since I took the Viso out on my M8 I have been thinking about picking up a DMR next year. Prices should come down as the R10 approaches. It should be a tad more practical to use. But I would not go full frame, I like to keep the weight of the medium tele down a bit. 80-200 would do me fine, or the 180 APO in addidtion to the 400.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Same for me. I've not been impressed with Canon files or glass and the DMR and Leica lenses have completely spoiled me. I've got a few manual-focus Nikkors (ED 300 f/4.5, ED 400 f/5.6, 55 f/3.5) so the D3 is mildly interesting but what's more likely is I'll find a pot of gold and wait for the R10 to become reality.
    I'm trying to hold out for the R10 also and like Doug looking for the pot of gold to get it. I am so spoiled by the Leica glass not sure i could use anything else except for Zeiss. And i don't want to go back to stop down stuff with a Canon, so if i had to buy something than maybe a D300 and a couple Zeiss lenses until at least the R10 comes out. Tough call
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    I already have a bunch of Canon glass, so the 5D-new or 1Ds3 make sense. However, the R10 is definitely on my watch list, and apart from lack of really good tilt/shift options, I would not hesitate to make a total system swap if it is great.
    Jack
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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Actually I made a very ealy preorder on the D3 along with the 14-24/2.8, but I ended up cancelling the order.
    What I need is an F mount camera with a BIG and Bright and Contrasty viewfinder well suited for manual focus, since I have some nice Nikon AIS and Zeiss ZF lenses sitting on the shelf.
    My approach is always the optics first, and then looking for some camera body to drive those lenses.
    The D3 looked like a great machine for the purpose but at the same time completely overkill for me since I am just an amateur and don't do sports. So I decided to wait for the FX sensor plus the larger mirror and viewfinder to drip down into a smaller and somewhat cheaper body, the "D300FX" or whatever the name will be. I realize I will probably have to wait maybe a year or even more for that to happen. But i still believe that at some point Nikon needs to release a counterpart to the Canon 5D. And I could easily do with a slow camera with a plastic body without weathersealing.

    I have owned the 5D along with three L lenses, but I was never really happy with the Canon files. I know that Jack and others are able to make them look great, but personally I am not at all good at postprocessing. It's definitely my weakest point. So for the moment I am not considering any EOS machine.

    R10 ... hmm
    I fear that it might turn out to be a very expensive camera.
    But I have already bought some R lenses ...
    I really hope that I can some day find an appropriate camera for those lenses. I think Leica should also consider an entry level DSLR for the R lenses if they want to gain some more market share. Maybe I will have to wait even longer for that to happen than the arrival of the Nikon prosumer FX model.

    While waiting I keep shooting my little trusty Nikon D50, and ... because I cancelled my D3 order I have just bought an M8 so far with only one lens, the 28/2.8 Elmarit. At least this camera has a viewfinder optimized for manual focus. And it enables me to shoot some of the most delicious optics in the world. So very soon I will have a lot of questions for all of you about the M8

    Just while waiting of course. Waiting for the Nikon FX prosumer DSLR. Plus the Leica R ditto. I think maybe I need both

    Well as I have the opportunity to be the first to post a picture on the Nikon board here's why I am definitely considering the D3, I really like the nikon files. And this is just from the cheap entry level D50. Nubian colors, Egypt. (Btw. Thanks for the great initiative with this forum, Guy and Jack !)

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    When I look at Nikon history, at least the digital part, Nikon has never launched a camera directly aimed at a Canon model, except maybe for the D2H which was very similar in performance to the 1D. In my mind, that means that there will not be a direct 5D competitor, but something in a different market segment, but with the FX sensor.

    What would be really cool, is a D40 size camera with that sensor, the D3 viewfinder and decent build quality, preferably weather sealed. That would really stir things up, and being the only small digital 35mm camera, it would have that market segment completely for itself.

    Would I buy one? I would buy two. That's the only camera I would need.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Sounds true and realistic, Jorgen. You are probably right about your market segmentation point of view.

    Also I totally agree that your suggestion about putting the D3 viewfinder onto an ultrasmall FX body sounds even better, I just didn't dare to hope for that to happen in any near future. Now that would really shake the market. Oh well, patience, patience

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    My guess is that at Photokina next year Nikon will introduce a D4 or some name like that which will be the D3 sensor or very similar but with the frame rate limited to perhaps 4-5 FPS. They will then be able to reduce the pixel size to roughly 6x6 microns and get close to 22Mpx which will go straight at the 1DsMkIII. This will put them back in direct contention for the pro buyer and other trickle down products will emerge from the efforts of the D3 and this new machine. They could also use the FF sensor from the D3 in a D300 body again with a reduced frame rate. All other features could be D3 like except for things like the dual card slots. The D300, which I just purchased is already well sealed against weather so it would be a natural competitor for the 5D and a great backup for the folks shooting the D3 or D4.

    This of course is all speculation on my part but I believe it makes good sense.Now that they have gone FF they are not going to let Canon dominate the highest end of the market without a fight.

    By the way my early experiences with the D300 have been very positive. The files look really good (I will post some very soon) and the sensor cleaning works well. The 3 inch 900,000 pixel LCD on the rear has to be seen to be believed. Knowing the LCD market as well as I do I am surprised that it took so long to get here.

    Best

    Woody

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    When I look at Nikon history, at least the digital part, Nikon has never launched a camera directly aimed at a Canon model, except maybe for the D2H which was very similar in performance to the 1D. In my mind, that means that there will not be a direct 5D competitor, but something in a different market segment, but with the FX sensor.

    What would be really cool, is a D40 size camera with that sensor, the D3 viewfinder and decent build quality, preferably weather sealed. That would really stir things up, and being the only small digital 35mm camera, it would have that market segment completely for itself.

    Would I buy one? I would buy two. That's the only camera I would need.

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    Subscriber robsteve's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    By the way my early experiences with the D300 have been very positive. The files look really good (I will post some very soon) and the sensor cleaning works well. The 3 inch 900,000 pixel LCD on the rear has to be seen to be believed. Knowing the LCD market as well as I do I am surprised that it took so long to get here.

    Best

    Woody
    Woody:

    Can you see the images on the LCD in sunlight. I was disappointed in the M8 LCD compared to the DMR LCD, which can be see in full sun.

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    I'd love to say either the nikon or leica full frame systems as I put image quality of both the look from the sensor coupled with top quality zeiss or leica glass above frame rate, etc.
    But unfortunately until a 24mm shift lens is available for these systems I am forced to stick to canon...as I am sure many others are.
    I am sure the dslr interiors, market is a big one but not sure if its big enough to get nikon or leica to make that wider shift lens!

    Size wise all three of these cameras are in my opinion too big to serve the multiple purposes of travel, stock, street as well as the obvious and very workable as they are sports, studio, interiors etc where the larger body size is no problem.

    So this leaves, wide shift lens dependant, either a 5d sized ff replacement from any of the three manufacturers, or one of new ff models in conjunction with a smaller travel, street, stock, specific camera / body. (M8, smaller nikon with zeiss zf lenses etc).

    Marc

    www.marcwilson.co.uk

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Marc I am using my Oly 24mm shift on the M8 but I had the mount converted to the Leica R from SK Grimes for than the DMR and now i use a Novaflex adapter from R to M for the M8. I'm holding on to it for hopes of a R10 and FF . but when this R10 hits the streets someday i certainly hope leica will make a shift and tilt 24mm to go with it. That would make me get a R10 in a hurry
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Hi Guy,
    Now I remember you talking about that converted olympus over on the FM forum.
    That type of conversion certainly does open up possibilities as it a shame to be tied to a particular system for just one lens...when for all other reasons another system may make more sense.

    When you did the conversion did skgrimes ever talk about other possibilities such as the olympus or canon 24mm shift lenses on a nikon body?

    Marc

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    The issue was Nikon and they could not make a Nikon mount because of the flange distance or something like that. But might be worth chatting with them for your needs , nice folks too

    http://www.skgrimes.com/
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    FWIW, I got to see some images today out of a friend's new D3. GIven I just tested the 1Ds3 yesterday and wasn't overly excited, I hoped for better news on the nikon front. Bottom line is I wasn't very impressed here either. Both cameras are capable of making extremely good images, just not anything earth-shatteringly better than what I already own can do.

    My .02 for now,
    Jack
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Jack

    At only 12.1Mpx I wouldn't expect that you would gain much in resolution from your 5D. Where the D3 shines is in noise performance and speed. I have seen shots from Dave Black, a Nikon sports pro, that are just stunning. He also was using the new Nikon 14-24 2.8 zoom which may be the best wide angle optic on the market today. (See the 16-9 review)

    Personally I have invested $1775 on the D300 and love the product but of course wish for full frame. I think it extremely likely that Nikon will have a FF 22 Mpx body by Photokina where the tradeoff will be much lower frame rate. (probably 4-5 fps) This would allow for 6x6 pixel pitch which should still represent very good noise performance (a la the D300). For landscape shooters like me, this will be the body of choice

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Sorry I haven't been back recently, folks: work.

    I guess you know my answer to the OP's Q.: I ordered a D3, the 14–24/2.8, and the 24–70/2.8 on the day they were announced. Later, I ordered a D300, mainly because of the LCD. I wear glasses for close-up work, and checking settings via the top screen has always been a PITA in the field when things are fast and furious.

    I have a perfect, very sharp and contrasty 80–200/2.8; these three zooms on FF will do most of the paying work. The high ISO performance of the D3 only means that I can hand-hold the longer lenses at the sort of shutter speeds that guarantee sharpness. I want to forget tripods, except for panoramas—hand holding was the whole raison-d'être for the 135 format in the first place

    I have made a few notes about the D300 on the first thread here.

    The D3 and the 14–24/2.8 arrive tomorrow.

    Simple reasons for this fast decision are the control surfaces (I prefer the feel and ergonomics of the pro Nikons over the Canons), the early reports of the MTF graphs on the 14–24/2.8 from Nikon which looked like they break the laws of physics (I know they are calculated, not measured like Zeiss), and the fact that I own all the ZF lenses except the 85/1,4 and the 50/1,4. Auto stopdown for me is necessary when I work—as most of you know, I had most of the Leica and Zeiss lenses (15/3.5–180/2.8) and that aspect (needing to stop down) meant that for some of my work, I had to use Canon lenses. I always felt that the Canon-exotic via an adapter was a step backwards—we had auto stopdown 30 years ago, after all.

    I can get good images from either Canon or Nikon sensors as everyone here can: the top cameras produce great images now. My decision came down to lens choice, ergonomics, and a great—maybe the greatest—wide angle zoom.

    Wides were the reason most of us found ourselves on Fred's Alt DSLR thread in the first place. I have no brand loyalty (like hubsand's "changing gear like a Ferrari paddle shift"). The D3 and the 4–24/2.8 look like the best thing going for my work, at the moment. Hubsand's posts on the 14–24/2.8 seem to support those calculated MTFs, too. And we may have reached that point on the slope of diminishing returns, where the current commercial gear is good enough for most work. We'll know more soon. Cheers to all.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Hi Kit:

    Really looking forward to your D3 impressions! I have heard great things about the Nikon 14-28 performance --- the only somewhat negative comment has been about it's size, it's big
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    As we say here, 'farqing big'.

    I go to the gym, luckily, and can close the 200lb version of the Heavy Grips



    Understand your comments too re. not being wowed by those files you saw from a friend's D3—especially after reviewing the 1DsIII. What lens was he shooting on the D3?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by kit laughlin View Post
    What lens was he shooting on the D3?
    He had shot several. The best image he got was with the ZF 35 at f8. He had several other images with all sorts of lenses, and only one really looked crisp.
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    I hope he doesn't have an MF focus problem. The 35/2 on the D200 definitely has the "wow" factor.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Yeah, he knows how to MF and liked that lens on his D200 His D3 shot had enough foreground and background that you see the exact plane of focus clearly delineated --- and in that plane at its sharpest point it was simply never crisp... EDIT: Again, I want to repeat, it COULD be a defective camera in some other way!
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Jack: that's interesting. My D3 has been delayed a day (got bumped off in LAX for higher priority cargo!). All duties and GST paid, though, and could be here tomorrow.

    It's hard to understand prima facie how that lens could be great on the D200 and not on the D3---but I have learned though a lot of testing that (like computers) these things are never as consistent and as reliable as we would like!

    I definitely will test all the ZFs on the D3. Cheers, kl

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Kit

    Will you be testing the 14-24 or the 24-70 on your new D3? I only have the D300 with the smaller sensor but the 14-24 looks killer on that body. Of course you can't see to the full frame corners but on this sensor it makes you drool. I plan on also getting the new 24-70 if the final reviews are as good as the preliminaries. Looks like Nikon is getting some great glass from their designers.

    Woody

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    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Woody,

    I ordered both the day they were announced with the D3. With any luck, the 14–24 will arrive tomorrow with the D3, and the 24–70 soon after. I will be testing them, but not against brick walls!

    Bjørn Rosslett claims that the 24–70 sets new standards for zooms: that's enough for me; see here:

    http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

    Go to "Lenses" LH column and navigate your way to it.

    Agree re. lenses, and most here remember why the Alt DSLR thread really took off. You might want to check Richard's quick review (16-9.net), which he posted on at FM, here:

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/594820

    Ignore the flamers. Cheers, kl

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Guys,

    You will love the new 24-70 lens. I got one of the lenses on the first day that dealers received them. After just a few days of use, I sold my 28-70 which was already a good lens. My 28-70 was better than the 17-55 DX, so it was the one that stayed until this new 24-70 arrived.

    Believe the reviews. Really sharp and great resolution, nice level of contrast, nice transitions from sharp to OOF, distortion is very controlled on the wide end, fast focus, great handling on the camera.

    Go buy one.

    My Nikon AF lens set has been reduced to this new 24-70 2.8, 100 2.8 VR Macro, 70-210 2.8 VR. This covers everything that I need with excellent glass. I also still have the Zeiss 50 1.4 ZF & Zeiss 50 2.0 Macro ZF. I did have the Zeiss 25 & 35 lenses also, but I like this new 24-70 so much that I sold the 25 & 35.

    I can't wait to see what Nikon is going to do for a higher resolution version of the D3 next year, if the rumors are true. Being invested in Nikon Glass & liking the body ergonomics/menu system of Nikon better, I've never seriously considered switching to Canon.



    Best,

    Ray

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    Super Duper
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Well, the Canon 1DsMKIII luster has faded. And I am stumped. R-10 is so far off on the horizon and it's unknown if it'll be AF or not.

    Wish someone would bust out and deliver a category breaker. I truly lament the demise of Contax. I suppose the Nikon D3 with Ziess glass is the closest ... but I need AF.

  31. #31
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by robsteve View Post
    Woody:

    Can you see the images on the LCD in sunlight. I was disappointed in the M8 LCD compared to the DMR LCD, which can be see in full sun.
    Robert

    The D300 LCD is a very good product and you can see in direct sunlight to a degree but this is no DMR. If Leica actually improve on the DMR LCD while bringing to market a FF sensor from Kodak with even better sensor quality than the DMR and using all that wonderful R glass, we may well be waiting for the ultimate 135 digital solution. Beyond that I agree with Marc; we will now be all going to the MF format.

    What do you think Ansel Adams would have done with a 5x4 and the P45+ back? YIKES!!!


    Woody

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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Well, the Canon 1DsMKIII luster has faded. And I am stumped. R-10 is so far off on the horizon and it's unknown if it'll be AF or not.

    Wish someone would bust out and deliver a category breaker. I truly lament the demise of Contax. I suppose the Nikon D3 with Ziess glass is the closest ... but I need AF.
    So really its just like in the pre digital days.
    If you have to have the fastest af, frames per minute, etc, etc you go 35mm but know that the image quality is limited to a certain level, whereas if you have to have the best image quality but still in a fairly portable package you go medium format.

    Nice and simple, just like the old days, but now with improved af in the medium format gear.

    So everyone should be happy? (apart perhaps from the costs involved!)

    Marc


    www.marcwilson.co.uk

  33. #33
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wilson View Post
    So everyone should be happy? (apart perhaps from the costs involved!)
    [/url]
    Not entirely. I'd still like to see a DSLR with a superlative viewfinder like the Leicaflex SL has. It should have a Leica-R lens mount too (Nikon AI would do in a pinch).

  34. #34
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    Not entirely. I'd still like to see a DSLR with a superlative viewfinder like the Leicaflex SL has. It should have a Leica-R lens mount too ...).
    ...then by all accounts you will be a happy man by the end of 2008!

  35. #35
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Wilson View Post
    ...then by all accounts you will be a happy man by the end of 2008!
    I'm clearing a credit card just for that purpose

  36. #36
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    I'm clearing a credit card just for that purpose
    Can't think of anyone who would make better use of a new digital R.

  37. #37
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Me either Marc. Doug is just a wonderful shooter of wildlife. I just marvel at his shots.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  38. #38
    Senior Member doug's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    If anyone is near salt water this weekend, the highest tide of the year will flush all sorts of critters out of the marshes where you can see 'em and photograph 'em. Jack, Palo Alto Baylands is one of the hot spots. I'll be at Arrowhead Marsh in Oakland on Sunday.


  39. #39
    Subscriber Member kit laughlin's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Well, I have had the D3 and the 14–24/2.8 for over a week now. You will need to work on your grip strength as I mentioned above, if you plan on walking around with this combo. Suggestions below.

    First impressions: as everyone else has reported, high ISO performance is stupidly good, encouraging you to shoot your girlfriend in a dark room lit by s single small candle, photograph black cats at night, etc. All work out just fine. The noise looks like grain to me, speaking as an ex pushed Tri-X man.

    Interface is excellent; but some silly things—like, you can't put Min. Shutter Speed into "my menu"—but you can put Auto ISO on/off there. Trouble is, "Min. Shutter Speed" and "Max. ISO" (sub menus of Auto ISO) are exactly the settings you DO need to change as you change lenses.

    Yet all sub menus from the Flash section of the Shooting menu CAN be put there. Someone in Nikon programming was asleep at the wheel there, or they don't take photographs. The Auto ISO is sensational. Default goes to 6400, and is perfectly usable.

    The 14–24/2.8, apart from being nose heavy (think Distagon 21/2.8, only bigger) produces sharp images edge to edge, at ƒ2.8. Distortion is well controlled. This will be the only lens I will use for interiors, and I have a project coming up next year to document one architect's work—the last ten year's worth.

    D3 files need more sharpening than I remember with the 5D or the 1Ds. I have never used PK Sharpener's "Luminance level 3" before, but that seems perfect (and that is after Capture Sharpening). Files have a lot of latitude for overexposure, and I think we will be breaking the "expose as far as you can the right, but no further" rule deliberately. One stop for sure, IMHO. This can be completely recovered with the Recovery slider. Benefits? Way less shadow noise, which is great to begin with.

    The "Active D-Lighting" works well, and surprisingly subtly. As far as I can tell, using the "High" setting is like using ~30% on the recovery slider, and about 20% on the Fill Light (ACR).

    Batteries are light and seem to last forever. We did the test shots in the studio for the next book (soft box for main light; two smaller soft boxes for the BG); shot all afternoon (maybe 100 shots) and the indicator showed a full charge.

    We shot these images on the 70-200/2.8 VRR wide open to soften the BG, and all images are tack sharp. I am still waiting on the 24–70/2.8; for some reason my guy just can't get any out of Nikon, yet I was able to get a 14–24 easily.

    The ZFs do very nicely on both the D3 and the D300, but are (for me) difficult to focus. I will try the magnifier on the D3 (DK-17M; but the one for the D300 gives a distorted "tunnel vision" effect, so I gave it away with the D200). I am hoping the optics on the DK-17M are better.

    If this does not give the MF results I am looking for, I will install a BrightScreen; Jim told me yesterday he has completed the first ones.

    In all, I like the D3 and the D300 as a pair, especially the focal length combos. I will add one more thing to the bag (a TC-14EII) and, with all the ZFs, that will end my buying for quite a while.

    A couple of shots (the 80–200/2.8 has been replaced by the 70-–200 VR), and the second shot is the gear I use for grip strength—you'll need it!


    All of you have a Merry Christmas, and talk to you all again soon.

  40. #40
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: 35 mm DSLR Full Frame Selection

    Thanks Kit, very important and useful informations here, exactly what I wanted to get to know more about.
    Your remark about "D3 files need more sharpening than I remember with the 5D or the 1Ds" is a bit scary. It makes me think that maybe the increased Noise Reduction for improved high ISO performance came at a cost ? And I guess it had to. So finally the Nikon folks were forced to walk the same route as Canon ?
    Personally I would prefer improved sharpness out of the box over improved high ISO performance, but that's just me. Anyway, I still have some nice AIS and ZF lenses sitting on the shelf, so I'm looking forward to hear more about your use of Manual Focus lenses on D3/D300 with the alternative magnifiers and/or screens.
    Merry Christmas to all of you - /Steen

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