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Nikon D700, Full Frame & Lenses

Joseph Sage , Jul 17, 2009; 11:43 p.m.


I have a burning question concerning the full frame Nikon D700 I just bought and it's full frame capability and lenses. Please be patient an break down your answers to Sesame Street Simple being that I'm still learning about photography and how to use all of the functions on my camera.

I traded in my Nikon D200 & Nikon D300 for a Nikon D700.

I have the following lenses:
1. AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1.3.5-5.6 G ED DX
2. AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D
3. Sigma 170-500mm 1:5-6.3 APO DG

As I was trading in the camera I was told that the lenses that I have would only produce a 6.1 megapixel image and that the images would be cropped. Also, it was explained to me that the reasoning behind this is because the D200/D300 have what was referred to slangly as a "half sensor" and that the D700 has a "full sensor." Furthermore, because the camera can sense that the lenses weren't designed for the full sensor that the camera would default the images to 6.1 megapixels and the image would be cropped.

Could someone please explain to me the truth behind this & how this works? Thanks for your time and I'll be looking forward to your replies.

All the Best!

~ Joseph.


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Steve Hughes , Jul 18, 2009; 12:08 a.m.

Why didn't you ask the question before you did the deal ? it seems to me you were sold a bill of goods, what exactly about the D300 and D200 did not meet your requirements? You now have traded two perfectly good cameras and lenses for 1 camera and effectively just 1 lens and the gobbleydook you are spouting makes makes no sense buddy .
The D700 has what is known as a full frame sensor that is the size of a 35mm film frame while the D200 and the D300 have a DX sensor the size of an aps film frame which is smaller.
The 18-200 mm lens you have is designed to cover a DX frame it will not cover the full frame so you need to toss it. The Sigma lens you have on a D700 is like putting diesel in a Maserati.
Lastly the guy you bought the camera off is wasted, he should be on Wall Street or better still a lobbyist for the insurance companies.
Good luck Steve

Michael R. Freeman , Jul 18, 2009; 12:10 a.m.

You were slightly (significantly) misinformed.

Both the AF Nikkor 50mm 1:1.8D and (AFAIK) Sigma 170-500mm 1:5-6.3 APO DG will produce a full resolution 12.1 megapixel full frame image on the D700, and will not be cropped. I'm not familiar with the Sigma, but some quick research seems to indicate that the APO DG version is designed to cover both film and digital (DX and FX) formats. If that's not correct, I'm sure that any owners of this particular lens can set me straight.

The AF-S Nikkor 18-200mm 1.3.5-5.6 G ED DX is a DX lens and does not project an image circle large enough to cover the FX (35mm size) sensor of the D700. Because it is a Nikkor lens, the D700 can recognize it as DX and automatically crop the image to a 6MP DX sized format. So you'll see the same angle of view with this lens on the D700 and you did on the D200/300. If you look through your D700 manual (p. 58-61), you'll see the section that explains all of this.

Matt Laur , Jul 18, 2009; 12:13 a.m.

Your D200 and D300 had "DX" format sensors. Yes, they are smaller than the D700's "FX" format sensor - which just happens to be the same size as a classic 35mm film frame.

Your 18-200 is a DX format lens. It projects a smaller image circle into the camera, and that projected image can't fully cover the D700's full size sensor. The camera will recognize the presence of that lens and can be told to automatically only use a part of the sensor that's the same size as the smaller DX sensor bodies.

Your 50/1.8, though, is a full-frame capable lens. A very effective one, actually - you'll find it to be quite useful on that D700.

The Sigma? I believe it will also work fine on an FX body.

Eric Arnold , Jul 18, 2009; 01:10 a.m.

sell your 18-200 and get a (used) 28-200 nikkor G.

Tommy Lee , Jul 18, 2009; 01:18 a.m.

No big deal. Just sell your 18-200 and get a used 28-200 ED G. You get (IMHO) a lighter and optically better all arround lens. So you lose VR but you gain $200+ toward you 17-35/2.8 :-)

The real bummer may be is the 500mm lens is not so long any more.

Kent Staubus , Jul 18, 2009; 02:25 a.m.

Considering the lenses you have, you pretty much have just bought yourself a $2,500 Nikon D300, LOL. It was your lenses that were weak, not your camera body. My thinking is you've made a very big mistake.

Kent in SD

Keith L , Jul 18, 2009; 02:52 a.m.

Was the D700 new, or was it used? If new, then the deal wasn't bad at all from a $$$ standpoint, given what you could get for a D200 and D300 on eBay.

However, as others have said, the new body didn't really get you much improvement given your lens line up.

To add to what's already been stated, I think the Sigma is an FX lens and in theory, should work as such, but Sigma lenses have forward compatibility with nw Nikon bodies, soyou'd want to test it out to make sure. I had a Sigma 30mm lens (recently sold) when I bought a D700, and with the correct setting, the D700 should have automatically recognized the DX lens and automatically shifted to DX mode. It didn't, and I had to manually set the body to DX mode when using this lens.

Robert Budding , Jul 18, 2009; 03:48 a.m.

"Considering the lenses you have, you pretty much have just bought yourself a $2,500 Nikon D300, LOL."

Not quite. The D700 is an excellent camera and has much better low light performance than does the D300. So now it's just a matter of rationalizing lenses so that you can take advantage of the FX sensor.

What lenses? It depends on what you shoot. But, as a first step, you might sell your 18-200mm. Better yet, why don't you use it a bit? Yes, you'll only use a portion of the D700 sensor, but you'll still be able to easily print stunning 8x10's.

Peter Hamm , Jul 18, 2009; 09:47 a.m.

Do you have a strong arm and some money to burn? If so, and you can afford a 24-70 f2.8 from Nikon (it's big, expensive and heavy), you will have between that camera and that lens, no excuse not to make the best possible images from a camera in this class. If you can't afford really great lenses, you were better off with the D300, and should see if you can trade back.

Alternatively, you could do what we all used to do years ago. Keep the 50mm lens (it's GREAT on that camera), and get a 24mm f2.8 wide angle lens for when you go wide and just use your feet.

If you love the 18-200 and what it gave you in terms of range... add a D40 to your line up as a "high end point and shoot" solution and just leave that lens on that camera forever. That would be a GREAT camera for family snapshots.

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