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follow up - D800 in DX mode

Chris Letts , Feb 08, 2012; 07:09 a.m.

Having created a stir with my last post (effectively 'will DX dissappear') I now need to pose a supplementary question: I have several decent DX lenses and I wouldn't want to fork out a huge amount of money to replace them immediately if I went for FX.
It was suggested to use a D800 in DX mode, however I'm not entirely clear whether I'd be losing anything.
Nikon quote 15 megapixels for the D800 in DX mode. That's actually better than my D200 so I'm not losing out there.
I've heard that there may be vignetting problems using DX lenses on an FX camera - does that still apply if using DX mode ?
Is vignetting in this case more of a problem on wide or tele lenses ? - I'm particularly keen not to have to replace my newish 200-500mm DX lens.


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Jos van Eekelen , Feb 08, 2012; 07:17 a.m.

Main thing you'll loose using DX lenses on an FX body is a lot of money. If in doubt follow the APS-C route and consider Full frame later. No doubt there will be a D900 or whatever it will be called in a few years time.

Hans Janssen , Feb 08, 2012; 07:39 a.m.

Start collecting FX-lenses, a used Tamron 28-75 2.8 or Nikkor 24-85 3.5-4.5 aren't that expensive, and when you have then then buy the camera. It is frustrating to work with wrong gear, I had the same with the D700, but I had it so cheap that I could refuse the offer.

Elliot Bernstein , Feb 08, 2012; 08:16 a.m.

DX mode on a FX body simply crops out the extra sensor area you gain with an FX sensor. If you lens does not vignette on your current body, it won't in DX mode on a FX body.

If you don't plan to upgrade your DX lenses in the very near future, you may be better off with a DX body upgrade like the D7000.

Wouter Willemse , Feb 08, 2012; 08:20 a.m.

I suggested in the previous thread since I'm in a similar position; I have 2 DX lenses I cannot afford to replace immediately, so the choice is adding a D700 and keeping the D300, or going for the D800 and use the DX mode while I save up to replace the DX lenses. Most of my lenses are FX, but for me it's especially the 16-85VR that I would miss - the 24-120 f/4VR is a logical replacement, but it costs too. Can't afford both at the same time, and the 24-120 on DX would be quite useless to me.
So, I think both are valid paths, actually - it's not wasting money nor using wrong gear, in my view, but migrating slowly instead.

I've heard that there may be vignetting problems using DX lenses on an FX camera - does that still apply if using DX mode ?

No more vignetting than you have now; in DX mode, the information is cropped to the size of a DX sensor.

my newish 200-500mm DX lens

I think you're safe there - there is no 200-500 DX lens. The Tamron 200-500 (if it is that one) is a FX lens.

Kent Staubus , Feb 08, 2012; 09:50 a.m.

Why would you spend $3,000 on a camera and then shoot it in DX mode? Wouldn't it make a LOT more sense to just buy a D7000, which will likely give you very similar performance? Maybe even better at high ISO? I think it would be very unwise to buy a camera you don't have lenses for. Here's what's likely going to happen. By buying the camera first, you are paying the high introductory price just to have it even though you can't really use it to its full extent. Meanwhile, you can bet that the lenses you want will be increasing in price. You would be better off buying the lenses NOW, before almost certain price increases, and then buy the camera, which typically slacks off just a bit in price after the introductory first six months. AND another thing to think about. I'm not being very encouraged yet by what I've been reading about the D800 and higher ISO. Has anyone seen any images made with it at even ISO 800? It might turn out that it really sucks at anything over ISO 600, we don't really know yet. I continue to sit tight, waiting to see what ISO performance actually is at ISO 3200, and waiting to see if Nikon soon releases yet another camera that might be a much better fit for me. One example I can think of is that a Nikon D400 that shoots clean at ISO 3200 with 17mp might be a better fit for me than a D800 that doesn't do well above ISO 600. At any rate, I am counting the cost of the lenses I need as just part of the entire system and would rather buy lenses first because I think in the long run that would save me hundreds of dollars.

Kent in SD

Jerry Litynski , Feb 08, 2012; 10:12 a.m.

You need to keep your images in the "Frame Lines" when shooting in DX mode. The Nikon D3 and the Nikon D700 bodies both have the dual-format capability. Some folks like it once in a while; others dislike it. Nikon engineered the camera to support both DX and FX images.

Bruce Brown , Feb 08, 2012; 10:35 a.m.

Chris: What Kent said +1. Go for the glass right now ... let the introductory "dust" settle ... Also, if you want a lot of grins over image quality, start shooting Nikon's full frame lenses on a DX body, like a D7000, it will make you very happy and position you well for (maybe) an FX body of your choice in the future.

Jerry Litynski , Feb 08, 2012; 09:58 p.m.

"Also, if you want a lot of grins over image quality, start shooting Nikon's full frame lenses on a DX body, like a D7000,..."

Is the D7000 that much different from other DX Nikon camera bodies? Here's a shot taken with a D3100 and (gasp!) a FX Nikkor zoom lens.

A butterfly from last summer.

Bruce Brown , Feb 09, 2012; 10:01 a.m.

Well, that's it ... taking only the center (APS) of a larger (full frame) image ... makes pretty much all edge issues mostly moot. The IQ?  Toot! Toot!

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