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DX vs FX sensor camera

Howard Sherer , May 12, 2011; 01:53 p.m.

I am currently using a D200, with my main travel lens the 18-200VR. I have been pleased with my results and have nice prints up to 20x30.
I am considering an up grade late this year depending on what the D300 and D700 replacments look like and will consider an FX body for better low light performance. Although my existing camera and lens is heavy, it is within my carry limits for a few days out with lots of walking. As I calculate the additional weight of a D700 and the Equiv 28-300VR lend, that will be an additional 400 grams or .9 pounds. I am worried that this total weight of 1790 grams or 3.94 pounds may be beyond my breaking limit of all day hiking.
My question to the group is do you think that I will have great benefit for the move up to an up to date FX body vs. DX body for both resolution and low light performance. I do have the opportunity to rent the target D700 and lens kit for a future trip and have the chance to carry it around for a week and see for myself. I shoot HDR so dont suggest the D7000 as it lacks some of the auto bkt features that I require.

Your thoughts please


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JDM von Weinberg , May 12, 2011; 02:05 p.m.

FX is wonderful. On the other hand, so are the latest technology big-pixel DX cameras.

If I did mostly telephoto work, I'd go with the DX.

Mostly wide-angle, the FX

but there are lenses to solve the FX and DX problems, if you care to do so.

In my case, I ended up with a Sigma 10-20mm for the DX format, and a Sigma 15-30mm for the FX camera.

Full disclosure: I now shoot mostly Canons for digital, but the principle is the same.

I am considering an upgrade of my Nikon equipment from an F and Nikkormat EL to a Nikon F2, if that makes my presumption any more tolerable. Sometimes we just have to move on to keep up with the times. ;)

Phil Evans , May 12, 2011; 02:12 p.m.

I also owned a D200 and now own a D700. My daughter owns a D3100.

It is no longer necessary to use an FX camera if you are just looking for better high iso performance. Even the D3100 is very good.

If your only issue is better high iso performance stick with DX, only go to FX if a combination of factors leads you in that direction.

Elliot Bernstein , May 12, 2011; 02:27 p.m.

Unless you want or need a larger viewfinder, reconsider the D7000 and bracket manually which is really easy (rotating the dial after each shot) - you will get great IQ and save a lot of $$$$$. And weight. Its image quality and high ISO performance is pretty much comparable to current FX models.

Of course, if money is not an issue, upgrade (and don't worry about the weight).

Patrick Porter , May 12, 2011; 02:38 p.m.

Err, what's the problem with the D7000 and bracketing???

It brackets just fine, it doesn't lack this feature...

Frank Skomial , May 12, 2011; 02:49 p.m.

" the D7000 as it lacks some of the auto bkt features that I require."
"It brackets just fine, it doesn't lack this feature.."

Since Howard shoots HDR, so perhaps he has in mind Nikon Multiple Exposure mode, like on D300S, where up to 9 or 10 exposures could be collapsed into a single HDR picture.
I do not see Multiple Exposure feature in the D7000 specs, but those who own it could possibly tell?

Shun Cheung , May 12, 2011; 02:52 p.m.

The "problem" with the D7000's auto bracketing is that it is limited to at most 3 exposures, not 5, 7 like the D300. But of course you can bracket manually.

If the OP is concerned about weight, I would suggest staying with the DX format.

Richard Snow , May 12, 2011; 02:54 p.m.

If low light performance and size are your concerns, go with the D7000...no need to go with FX. You will get comparable low light performance in a much smaller package. (Plus you won't need to buy the 28-300 VR)

I shoot a D700 now and will likely not go back to DX, but this is coming from someone who shot film for many years before moving to digital and I prefer the FX/full frame sensor.

Shun Cheung , May 12, 2011; 03:18 p.m.

Richard, most likely I shot film for much longer than you did since I am older, but today I continue to use both FX and DX formats. After getting the D700 almost 3 years ago shortly after it was released, my latest DSLR is the D7000 and today I shoot DX more often than FX; it all depends on which format works better in each situation. I also use long teles a lot and that is why I prefer DX in those occasions.

Howard Sherer , May 12, 2011; 03:37 p.m.

Shun et all,

Thanks for your responses so far. Yes for propper HDR you would like 5-7 bracketed exposures and since I do some of these without a tripod, the auto bkt feature is used so I can brace the camera nd frire away with 1 stroke of the shutter. Therefore I do want the auto bkt to allow for 5-9 exposures.
Shun, I do shoot both wide landscapes and long tele and have a good range of DX lenses for this work so staying DX may be a serious consideration based on what nikon launches in the future. If you were to compare the same exposures as equal focal lengths from the 700 & 7000 do you see very much difference?

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