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Nikon Lenses. Cropped Sensor vs Full Frame.

William P , Mar 26, 2013; 03:25 p.m.

Hi, I'm a new member, sorry if I've posted in the wrong category.

I have a D3200 and recently bought a nikon nikkor af 50mm f/1.8 d lens and I want a nikon nikkor af-s 35mm f/1.8 dx g, but I eventually want to upgrade to a full frame nikon. My question is, Will these lenses cover the sensor fully on a full frame dslr? Or should I put the 35mm lens money into my 'new camera' fund? I really dislike variable zoom lenses, so i can live with using the 50mm as my main lens, for now. I am also unsure of what full frame nikon I will end up with, if that matters. It depends on if I go for new or used andwhen I save up the money.

Thanks in advance. Gareth.


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Cory Ammerman , Mar 26, 2013; 03:34 p.m.

The 50mm lens will be fine on FX. The 35mm will not. The DX in the description of the lens means that is only for DX size sensors (cropped cameras). If a lens doesn't have DX in it's description (Nikon lenses, other manufacturers use other letters), then it is for full-frame cameras.

Matt Laur , Mar 26, 2013; 04:03 p.m.

If you want a fast 35 that will will eventually work (well) for you on an FX body ... it's Nikon's 35/1.4 or Sigma's version. Both truly excellent, but large and expensive lenses (the Nikon more expensive, and not enough better - if it even is better - of a lens to justify the difference, I think).

Or, seriously consider whether a shorter prime really makes sense if FX is coming to you any time soon. A 24-70/2.8 may be a lot more useful to you. On the other hand, the DX 35/1.8 is not at all expensive, and if you totally wash you hands of DX, just sell it along with the D3200 when the time comes.

William P , Mar 26, 2013; 04:18 p.m.

Ah thanks. Yous have been a great help. I'll save my money for the moment. I might possibly go for another fx lens so I have more to play with whilst I save!


Eric Arnold , Mar 26, 2013; 04:59 p.m.

a 35/1.8 is only $200. i would actually get that now as IMO 50mm is a bit long for indoor shots on DX and a tad short for portraits. doesnt make a whole lot of sense to buy a FF 35mm lens before you have a body to use it on.

Rich Simmons , Mar 26, 2013; 05:03 p.m.

Unless you have a really specific reason to go full frame, why not stick with DX. Right now, you're kind of at the bottom in the lineup of models. The DX line is not going away anytime soon. You can bump up to the 5100, the 5200, the 7000, the 7100 and even older models like the D300, which is still a very good camera.

Joseph Smith , Mar 26, 2013; 11:01 p.m.

I have both the 50mm f 1.8 D lens and the 35mm f1.8 DX lens. When I am shooting with my D 300s, a DX body, I use my 35mm f 1.8 lens in that I think it outperforms my 50mm f1.8 D lens. Its AF is certainly faster. When I shoot with my FX bodies I use my 50mm f 1.8 D lens. As long as you have the DX body I would keep the 35mm f 1.8 DX lens and use it. When you get a FX body then decide if you need another FX lens. Joe Smith

Wouter Willemse , Mar 27, 2013; 05:14 a.m.

Frankly, you're not making a lot of sense. You're fretting over the cheapest lenses, and yet already considering to get a FX body to replace an as-good-as-brand new D3200? FX bodies cost a lot (and will continue to do so for a while), and if you're only going to stick cheap lenses on that FX body, it's not really going to be worth the extra money you'll spend on it. Consider why you would want a FX camera (tip: it is not the holy grail of photography, nor a requirement to be serious about photography).
Don't go too cheap on lenses - for example instead of that 50 f/1.8D, it would have been worth it spending a bit more for the 50 f/1.8G - you get AF on the D3200, plus it is a much much improved lens over the older D version. Lenses keep value, bodies do not. A good lens enables more creative options than a higher-end body does. So, instead of restricting yourself now to a not overly useful not overly great 50mm f/1.8D in order to get a D600 or something later, consider getting seriously nice lenses first. And then the FX body may or may not come some day. But at least in the meanwhile, you'll have a useful kit, capable of good results.

Sorry to sound harsh, but you're restricting yourself in ways that aren't necessary, by ruling out all DX lenses and anything with variable aperture, honestly. Especially when you're on a budget. It just really makes no sense. If your budget is really limited today, the best value for money might well be the 18-55VR and 18-105VR kitlenses. Don't rule these out because it does not have glamourous specifications - both are a surprisingly good lenses for the money. The next best bargain Nikon has is that 35mm f/1.8DX - lots better than the more expensive FX 35mm f/2D, and it'll keep its value. You can easily sell these lenses without loosing a lot of money if you ever go to FX.
So, reconsider your priorities a bit, because you might be cutting yourself short for little reason.

Andrew Garrard , Mar 27, 2013; 07:43 a.m.

If you're happy with manual focus - and the fact that you got a 50mm f/1.8 D suggests that you might be - then I'd suggest considering the Samyang 35mm f/1.4. It's quite big and not that cheap, but it's appreciably cheaper than the autofocus equivalents of that lens from Nikon and Sigma, and is quite well-regarded. It covers FX if you go that way in the future, and is faster than the DX lens you're considering.

But Wouter makes a good point - depending on your reasons for wanting full frame. (For all we know you're within a whisker of being able to afford a D4 for the 600mm f/4 you haven't told us about, and you're trying not to blow the budget on lenses in the mean time...) In the meantime, autofocus is awfully nice to have. Unless you're already planning more expenditure, buy for the camera you've got.

Andy L , Mar 27, 2013; 09:05 a.m.

If a $200 lens is going to be a burden on the budget, I don't think I'd be thinking about FX cameras at all. You can get very good performance out of current DX models while staying in the realm of cheaper DX lenses. But since the question is about transitioning to FX, what I'd do is, buy the 35mm f/1.8 now and sell it if you go from DX to FX. If you buy the lens new now, you'll only lose about $40 when you resell it, and for that money you get to have the lens you want for the foreseeable future. If you buy the lens used, you can probably work it out so that you don't lose any money on it.

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