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Thread: a FF decision with no legacy glass

  1. #1
    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 a Nikon board I assume the D700 will get the nod, but the getdpi community seems a lot more balanced than some other boards, and many have shot or currently own different systems.

  2. #2
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    My personal experience among the camera models you mention is limited to Canon 5Dmk2and D700, still i won't get into the reasons why i chose "yellow over red" (and would never go back), there are more technically qualified people on this forum to give the pros and cons.

    On the strict Nikon side of things then: if you liked the 105 micro (older version i presume) you'll like the more recent 105VR even better. A terrific piece of glass, very versatile, and reasonably priced all things considered.

    Its principal downside might be a tendency to focus a tad slower than other AF lenses, and sometimes search along the barrell. Which incidentally is mainly a problem for speed Macro since otherwise you can limit the settings to 0.5/infinite. To be fair, it's a bit annoying at the beginning but when you get the hang of it it works seamlessly.

    Its smaller sibling the 60VR is operating faster, and is quite good. I owned it but eventually sticked to the 105 then got a Zeiss prime for 50mm shots. Simply because it did not make real sense to have both, and i love the CZ 50/2 (and 35/2, 21/2.8, 100/2).
    Of course then the AF was history, but i got a 50/1.4G for the purpose and it's sitting in a secondary bag, as the 60mm was. I did not sold the 50/1.4G though, still entertaining the idea of using it... when time comes. Definitely a different -complementary i think- approach than the Zeiss.

    If AF is not required, the Voigtlander primes are also extremely good (my take would be 58/1.4 first, but again it's a bit too much of the same focal in my bag) and quite affordable for the quality. Plus, their electronic chip allows more features (metering etc.) than their CZ couterparts... if needed Carlos (Etrigan63) has terrific inside knoledge of these.

    Just a few thoughts...
    Last edited by Corlan F.; 2nd September 2009 at 13:00.

  3. #3
    Member jlancasterd's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I bought myself a D700 a couple of months ago to get the advantage of FF and hi-ISO performance - up till then I'd been waiting for the Leica R10 so that I could use my 21-35 zoom at its full potential on digital work...

    Along with the D700 I also bought an AF-S ED24-70mm/f2.8G Nikkor and an AF-S VR Micro ED105mm/f2.8G. I can recommend both lenses - the 24-70 isn't cheap, but it produces excellent results and handles very well. The nano crystal coating really does seem to be very effective in reducing flare with bright lights in the frame. I have the new 70-210 f2.8 on order and fully expect it to equal the 24-70 in performance. The only prime I've bought is a Voigtlander 20mm AIS, but it has only been used a couple of times as the 24mm end of the 24-70 has handled all of the wide angle work I've done so far very effectively indeed.

    Incidentally, I've been truly amazed by the performance of the D700 at ISO 3200 and 6400. For Magazine purposes I shoot in some very dark corners of a railway workshop, and I don't like using flash if i can avoid it. The low levels of colour noise of the D700 at high ISO is a real boon for that kind of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    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 a Nikon board I assume the D700 will get the nod, but the getdpi community seems a lot more balanced than some other boards, and many have shot or currently own different systems.
    Last edited by jlancasterd; 2nd September 2009 at 12:58.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    thx for the perspectives. One downside is on the longer end there doesn't seem to be an equivalent to the Canon 70-200/f4 USM IS. I am spoiled by the Pentax 50-135*, which is optically wonderful and only about 600g. I need to do more 12oz curls I think...

  5. #5
    tetsrfun
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    I was in a camera store "looking" at full frame and was thinking that if I didn't have 1/2 doz. Nikon Pro. FX lenses, that I would seriously consider the Sony 900 and their selection of G and CZ lenses.

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

    First ask yourself what glass you want to use for the coming decades - and then choose an appropriate "short life cycle" digital camera from there.

    Despite my Nikon tattoo I'm with tetsrfun. How does autofocus Zeiss ZA optics in combination with an in-camera anti-shake system sound

    And what are the optical alternatives:
    Canon glass. Nikon glass. Or manual focus Zeiss ZF / ZE. Or manual focus Voigtländer lenses ?
    Or manual focus exotic glass with adapters and stop down metering ?

    I firmly believe that Sony will catch up on the high-ISO competition parameter. It's only a matter of time.
    But of course, if you need the best possible high-ISO performance now, you need it now.

  7. #7
    Subscriber Member Corlan F.'s Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Hi Steen,
    on this aspect it's pretty much a matter of AF. In this respect i'm partial since thinking about it i'm manualy focusing 95% of the time (including the 105 even for macro shots). That's probably why i sticked to the 50/2 in the first place instead of the Nikon 60 or 50mm primes.
    Still i sometimes find myself dreaming of a F-mount couterpart of the Sony Zeiss 135mm AF...

  8. #8
    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Corlan wrote: " ... I'm manualy focusing 95% of the time ... "

    So am I, Corlan, with my ZF lenses.
    And I really like to focus manually because it makes me feel like being in control and actually photographing again.
    But I'm becoming an old dog and my eyes are weakening, so at some point I need to find an autofocus solution that can optically match the Zeiss ZF lenses.

    With the Leica R system discontinued as an OVF SLR system the Sony Alpha system seems to me to be in a unique position because of the following three factors:

    - the autofocus Zeiss optics
    - the in-camera anti-shake system
    - the biggest and brightest optical viewfinder on the market of today

    Neither Canon nor Nikon cooperate with Leica or Zeiss or Schneider or Rodenstock about optics.
    And I assume both companies are locked up on their in-lens stabilization systems for many years ahead.

    So if only the Sony folks know to move on and make it a full range of Zeiss lenses and also improve the AF system and the high-ISO performance, I personally believe they have an optical system with a real winner potential.

    If I were starting from scratch today I think I would go the Zeiss ZA route and buy whatever current Alpha body for that system.
    Of course I would try out the lenses and the whole system first, so far I haven't done that

  9. #9
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    If AF is not required, the Voigtlander primes are also extremely good (my take would be 58/1.4 first, but again it's a bit too much of the same focal in my bag) and quite affordable for the quality. Plus, their electronic chip allows more features (metering etc.) than their CZ couterparts... if needed Carlos (Etrigan63) has terrific inside knoledge of these.

    Just a few thoughts...
    I wondered why my ears were burning when I saw this thread....

    As Corian said, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.
    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

  10. #10
    tetsrfun
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    First ask yourself what glass you want to use for the coming decades - and then choose an appropriate "short life cycle" digital camera from there.
    ********
    That is the essence of the not well articulated though that I was having at the camera shop. Camera bodies with a built-in steep depreciation curve, that may not be worth repairing in (?) 5 yrs, that sells for $8,000 USD vs a product (Sony 850) for $2,000.

    As a hobbyist, I can't justify an $8k upgrade from my D-300 but $2k would be a very attractive price for a body up-grade every 3-5 years. This is obviously over simplified with respect to models and capabilities, etc.

    Steve

  11. #11
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    Re: a FF decision with no legacy glass

    Nikkor lenses have a 5 year warranty, if bought new. Canon 1 year. That swayed me a bit and I like the D700 better than the 5D. Haven't tried the 5DMK2.

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