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Are you happy you changed from DX to FX?

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Hi Everyone,

 

I am just about to upgrade my camera and was hoping to get some advise on whether it is the right time to change to FX or stick with a DX system.

 

I am looking at the Nikon D7100 (or the D7200 if it appears shortly as predicted) or the Nikon D750, both sound like great cameras and I have read every review that I can get my hands on.

 

Now those that have changed over are you happy with the decision, or do you miss the DX system, especially the Tokina 10-17?

 

And what are your preferred lens with a FX system?

 

Any comments would be much appreciated.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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Hi Everyone,

 

Now those that have changed over are you happy with the decision, or do you miss the DX system, especially the Tokina 10-17?

 

And what are your preferred lens with a FX system?

 

 

I haven't completely switched. In fact I have bought a DX system more recently than FX. Although FX remains my primary system underwater.

 

I don't miss the 10-17mm much.

 

The lenses I have used underwater on FX are:

 

Sigma 15mm FE (focuses closer than Nikon)

Nikon 16mm FE (better AF and better flare resistance than Sigma)

Nikonos 13mm RS-UW FE (better optically than above, but not by much at normal apertures, can't do splits)

Nikon 14-24mm

Nikon 16-35mm

Nikon 17-35mm

Sigma 15mm (shaved) with 1.4x teleconverter

Nikon 20mm (f/1.8 and f/2.8)

Nikon 24-70mm (only used in pool)

Sigma 28-70mm

Nikon 60mm

LensBaby 80mm

Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm

Nikon 105mm VR

Nikon 105mm VR + 1.7x Nikon AFS TC

Nikon 105mm VR + 2.0x Nikon AFS TC

Sigma 150mm

 

I could do many trips with just Sigma 15mm and Nikon 105mm.

 

I find the 16-35mm the best performing wide angle zoom behind a dome. But you can't skimp on dome quality and I would only use it with a Zen 230.

 

I shoot the longer lenses behind a dome too - for better optical quality - when I am not planning fish portraits over true macro.

 

Alex

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Hi Nigel

 

I moved from the Nikon D300 underwater to the D800 just over a year ago.

 

For the D300 I used the Tokina 10-17 plus Nikkors 60 and 105. I had the Nikkor 10.5 but used it rarely after buying the Tokina. I now use the Sigma 15mm, and the Nikkors 16-35mm (with a +2 diopter) and 105mm. Like Alex, I am now finding that I could do most trips with just the Sigma 15mm and the Nikkor 105mm.

 

I have found two other issues with the switch to FX (other than losing the Tokina): the transport weight/bulk of the equipment; and the need, again as Alex highlights of a bigger dome.

 

I've just got back from 4 weeks (woohoo!) diving in the Caribbean where I took my Subal housing, two D800 bodies, the three lenses I use u/w and one topside lens. I had two ports (Subals for the 105mm and the 230 dome) plus 2 Inon strobes and all the usual bits and bobs. I reckon I had something like 25kgs of packed photo gear - and, most noticeably, could not pack the 230 dome port in my Pelican cabin-size roller box or even in my dive bag as it then became 27kgs. And, believe me, my clothes and non-dive stuff weighed about 500gms! And I was travelling light-light with dive gear too.

 

So bottom line, FX lenses and bodies - at least at the D800 level - are significantly heavier and bulkier than DX.

 

I started with using the Subal DP-FE domeport for my Nikkor 16-35 but there is no doubt that edge sharpness was lacking and I have now switched to the DP-230. Cost aside (ouch!), I was still taken aback by the sheer increase in size of the port compared to the DP-FE. Hard to believe that an extra inch of glass diameter makes such a difference. But it does. I'm now carrying that port as yet another carry-on in a padded cool bag.

 

So, those, for me, have been the negatives and something, I'd suggest anyone planning on moving from DX to FX, should bear in mind.

 

And the positives? Wow: the image quality. I was always pretty happy with the D300 especially with macro - but the D800 is sharper, more cropable - but, as others have found with the D800 requires greater care.

 

Sorry, a lot of this has not really answered your basic question but I did think it worth highlighting. So, no, I don't miss the Tokina now. And the Sigma 15mm and the Nikkor 105mm are the go-to lenses. But I do miss the lighter weight of the DX system.....

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Switched from D7000 DX to D800 FX about halfway through 2014. I understand the D7100 is of course much better, particularly with high ISO, but here's my thoughts.

 

D7000 pluses:

- Smaller footprint

- Lighter weight

- 10-17 works well with 8" dome, smaller and lighter than D800 options with 10.5" dome

- Macro is easier with DX since you can use the 60mm with a teleconverter and the 105 gives a much larger image

 

D800 pluses

- bigger buffer

- higher resolution is really fantastic

- much better high ISO

- 16-35 lens is actually very, very good. Same with 15mm Sigma FE

- D800 handles like my old D300. I really hate the prosumer controls on the D7000. (I probably wouldn't like the D750 for the same reason)

- Macro is much higher quality with the 105 due to the huge resolution

 

 

Overall, I'm very happy with the switchover. The D800 is a fantastic camera and from an imaging standpoint just absolutely smokes the D7000 in my amateur hands. The only drawback is everything is bigger and heaver although I would say my old D300 with housing was just as heavy.

 

Also, for above water use, I do a lot of band and concert photography in very low light situations and the D800 is fantastic for that purpose. I also have an Olympus EM5 with a full set of good lenses when I need "small and light". The EM5 quite frankly is about 95% as good as the D7000.

Edited by johnspierce

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I shoot the longer lenses behind a dome too - for better optical quality - when I am not planning fish portraits over true macro.

 

 

Could you explain your comment above? I am intrigued by it, but do not understand the trade-offs and/or implications of shooting longer lenses behind a dome.

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Thanks for the feedback everyone, I hadn't even thought about the increased weight, but they may be a deciding factor.

 

Alex, that is a hell of a lot of lens in that list.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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D800 pluses

- much better high ISO

 

Also, for above water use, I do a lot of band and concert photography in very low light situations and the D800 is fantastic for that purpose.

 

I would argue that for low light underwater use the DX D7100 is at least a comparable performer to the FX D800, possibly better underwater. This is because what you gain from the sensor, you loose with the dome port optics - as FX lenses need to be stopped down more for comparable corner sharpness, giving back the advantage from the sensor. On land there are no such compromises, but underwater DX has a 1.3 stop advantage in port performance. This is from my D750 review (http://wetpixel.com/articles/field-review-nikon-d750-and-nauticam-na-d750/P4):

 

 

 

Overall, I was a bit surprised that the noise from the 24MP FX D750 was not a bit better (despite matching the D810), especially when compared to the year old, 24MP DX D7100 I own. It is clearly better than the DX camera, but not by as much as many would expect. The DxO results shows it holds only one stop advantage, which is consistent across the ISO range. One stop is an amount that a DX underwater photographer can easily get back on the aperture compared to a FX shooter, while maintaining the same corner sharpness (assuming the same dome and lens angle of view). Ultimately, this says more about how amazing the D7100 is, rather than any paucity in performance in the D750. But it does raise the issue that in real world shooting, FX might not yield any significant advantage over DX for high ISO underwater photography.

 

Alex

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Could you explain your comment above? I am intrigued by it, but do not understand the trade-offs and/or implications of shooting longer lenses behind a dome.

 

 

A flat port will always cause some chromatic aberration because as a flat interface between water and air it causes refraction. Refraction at this interface bends different wavelengths of light different amounts and the colours split slightly - a chromatic aberration. We often see this in underwater pictures as a purple fringe along the inside edge of detail close to the edge of the frame.

 

The wider the lens, the more pronounced the effect. This is a (left) edge of frame crop from a 60mm behind a flat port, you can see the purple fringe CA along the right hand edge of dark colour areas:

 

post-713-0-61167500-1424854967_thumb.jpg

 

Here is the whole image for reference only:

 

post-713-0-19574700-1424855412_thumb.jpg

 

Image processing software (e.g. Lightroom) can lessen this effect, but really it not calibrated for dealing with such strong amounts of CA generated by a flat port.

 

Using such a lens behind a small dome removes this issue and also makes the lens a little wider. Downsides are that some macro power is lost and more importantly you cannot now use external dioptres. I will only use this solution when I know I am going in the water to shoot fish portraits rather than true macro.

This is not a specific FX effect - it is a flat port/angle of lens coverage issue. Apologies for taking the discussion :offtopic:

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I just switched from a m4/3 to a FX sensor - because why not quadruple the sensor size if you can? Adam just posted the article I wrote on macro with a D750 yesterday: http://wetpixel.com/articles/lembeh-macro-with-a-nikon-d750

 

 

One of the things I think should make a considerable difference is whether you want to shoot macro mostly or wide angle. As my personal preference is wide angle (and doesn't it show in the article? Wait, what?!) I went with whatever would give me the most amount of (natural) light. I was still very happy with the performance I got out of a 105mm macro lens and the diminished depth of field actually is more to my taste, but that's something that could change with more experience (I had very little of that.) and might make an impact on you if you're used to more depth of field.

 

 

John mentioned bigger bulk for FX over DX - the D7100 and D750 are actually close to identical in size, as are the Nauticam cases:

 

NA-D7100: 343mm x 186mm x 134mm
NA-D750: 353mm x 193mm x 128mm

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Coinee's post reminded of another FX/DX difference: the ability to TTL using fibre optics.

 

With my DX system I had to use classic electric cable connections between the camera and the strobes. However with the FX (certainly on the Subal) I can now use the D800's built-in flash to activate my Inon's through fibre optics.

 

This, I find, has two advantages:

 

- TTL for macro which I really like - and I could remove my Heinrich Weikamp convertor;

- and using fibre optic/slave sensor Inon activation eliminates the need for the electrical connections. Less o-rings to mess with, no problems with dodgy circuits or pins, much quicker putting the system together, ability to disconnect a strobe in-water for, e.g., off-housing use.

 

The only real disadvantage I found so far is the D800 housing is a bit bigger to allow for the optical ports and the need for a higher pentaprism area where the built-in flash can pop-up. So another contribution to the increased size/weight.... but this, for me, is well worth it.

Edited by TimG

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I would argue that for low light underwater use the DX D7100 is at least a comparable performer to the FX D800, possibly better underwater. This is because what you gain from the sensor, you loose with the dome port optics - as FX lenses need to be stopped down more for comparable corner sharpness, giving back the advantage from the sensor. On land there are no such compromises, but underwater DX has a 1.3 stop advantage in port performance. This is from my D750 review (http://wetpixel.com/articles/field-review-nikon-d750-and-nauticam-na-d750/P4):

 

 

Alex

 

Is there an article you can point that further details the relative merits of DX and FX for underwater use? I am considering a move to FX as well.

Edited by Akoni

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Coinee's post reminded of another FX/DX difference: the ability to TTL using fibre optics.

 

With my DX system I had to use classic electric cable connections between the camera and the strobes. However with the FX (certainly on the Subal) I can now use the D800's built-in flash to activate my Inon's through fibre optics.

 

This, I find, has two advantages:

 

- TTL for macro which I really like - and I could remove my Heinrich Weikamp convertor;

- and using fibre optic/slave sensor Inon activation eliminates the need for the electrical connections. Less o-rings to mess with, no problems with dodgy circuits or pins, much quicker putting the system together, ability to disconnect a strobe in-water for, e.g., off-housing use.

 

The only real disadvantage I found so far is the D800 housing is a bit bigger to allow for the optical ports and the need for a higher pentaprism area where the built-in flash can pop-up. So another contribution to the increased size/weight.... but this, for me, is well worth it.

 

 

This is not a FX/DX difference, it is a camera/housing difference. In fact, popular Canon FX cameras do not have pop-up flash, so you cannot use TTL with optical fiber unless you use a micro-strobe, which is not the easiest/cleanest way (and it won´t use the exact eTTL protocol).

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This is not a FX/DX difference, it is a camera/housing difference. In fact, popular Canon FX cameras do not have pop-up flash, so you cannot use TTL with optical fiber unless you use a micro-strobe, which is not the easiest/cleanest way (and it won´t use the exact eTTL protocol).

 

Thanks for that, David. Sorry, I'm not familiar with Canon and was referring to moving from my Nikon DX to FX. Clarificaction appreciated!

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I haven't completely switched. In fact I have bought a DX system more recently than FX. Although FX remains my primary system underwater.

 

I don't miss the 10-17mm much.

 

The lenses I have used underwater on FX are:

 

Sigma 15mm FE (focuses closer than Nikon)

Nikon 16mm FE (better AF and better flare resistance than Sigma)

Nikonos 13mm RS-UW FE (better optically than above, but not by much at normal apertures, can't do splits)

Nikon 14-24mm

Nikon 16-35mm

Nikon 17-35mm

Sigma 15mm (shaved) with 1.4x teleconverter

Nikon 20mm (f/1.8 and f/2.8)

Nikon 24-70mm (only used in pool)

Sigma 28-70mm

Nikon 60mm

LensBaby 80mm

Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm

Nikon 105mm VR

Nikon 105mm VR + 1.7x Nikon AFS TC

Nikon 105mm VR + 2.0x Nikon AFS TC

Sigma 150mm

 

 

I have seen some land and underwater photos shot with Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm 2.8

I would also be interested to buy one of these lenses. As far as i can see they are available in eBay.

However the following issues are unclear for me and would highly appreciate to get info:

 

1. Have these lenses ever been produced with Nikon F-Mount? If not would it be possible to attach them to a Nikon DX Camera? (I currently own D7100)

 

2. I own a Subal housing. Would it be possible to attach a focus gear to control the manual focus?

 

3. Which Subal port configuration would be suitable to use this lens?

 

Cheers,

 

Mehmet

Edited by Mehmet Gungen

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I have seen some land and underwater photos shot with Meyer Gorlitz Trioplan 100mm 2.8

I would also be interested to buy one of these lenses. As far as i can see they are available in eBay.

However the following issues are unclear for me and would highly appreciate to get info:

 

1. Have these lenses ever been produced with Nikon F-Mount? If not would it be possible to attach them to a Nikon DX Camera? (I currently own D7100)

 

2. I own a Subal housing. Would it be possible to attach a focus gear to control the manual focus?

 

3. Which Subal port configuration would be suitable to use this lens?

 

Cheers,

 

Mehmet

 

It is quite easy to get a mechanical lens mount converter.

 

I used this lens with fixed focus. Although focus is a bit of loose word with this lens. It is really not sharp at all. I would try and borrow one, rather than buy one. I guess there is a reason that there are plenty of eBay!

 

I think it would be easy enough to make focus gear - but I would try the lens before bothering - as you will probably realise that there is not really a big point.

 

Alex

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I own different Meyer Gorlitz lenses (Trioplans 50, 100, Primoplan...) and I can say that it is best to get some documentation before buying as there are different mounts (M42, Exacta...) and, at least in the special case of the 100mm, yield different results. Things to take into account are: they are only "fun" wide open, lose infinite focus on Nikons (mount flange distance) and are not very macro by themselves...

 

One example:

 

257804d1409570804-objetivos-m42-en-camar

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I'm not that delighted I switched from the D7000 to the D800, but for my wife's work shooting weddings the D800 ability to shoot high ISO is essential. (And using the same bodies seemed sensible.) I really miss the 10-17. I don't care if it's not as sharp as the 10.5 (which I sold), it's certainly sharp enough for commercial work. I miss the size and weight of the DX housing. I only shoot wide these days; I'm not fond of the fisheye look but the Sigma 15 is a good lens. I have the 16-35 behind the Nauticam 230mm dome with 70 extension and it's ok, but my corners never seem that great, and it's a huge heavy rig like that. What I like best is the ability to crop drastically and still have a commercial file. Really, the ability to crop makes the 15 Sigma a 10-17 equivalent if you want.

I hanker after something smaller, maybe that uses the 15mm Nikonos lens.

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I own different Meyer Gorlitz lenses (Trioplans 50, 100, Primoplan...) and I can say that it is best to get some documentation before buying as there are different mounts (M42, Exacta...) and, at least in the special case of the 100mm, yield different results. Things to take into account are: they are only "fun" wide open, lose infinite focus on Nikons (mount flange distance) and are not very macro by themselves...

 

One example:

 

 

David

Thanks for the info. With further investigation (as you also wrote) i understood that the flange to sensor distance in Nikons cause loose infinite focus when other brands lenses are used. :-/ I like the bokeh when these lenses are used wide open. May be not very sharp even in focus. However they have a very specific effect. Differs from the bokeh of 100mm f/2.8 VR shot wide open for instance. In flickr there are many examples.

Edited by Mehmet Gungen

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Thanks Pete,

 

Really appreciate the honest opinion.

 

Cheers,

 

Nigel

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I switched from D90 in Ikelite housing to a D7000 in a Hugyfot housing and 2012 to a Nikon D800 in a Hugyfot housing.

I agree with all positive comments above, and as Alex mentioned, the Sigma 15mm FE and the Nikon 105mm can cover most of the situations underwater.

I use the Sigma 15mm FE with the Hugyfot 124mm minidome and with f/stop 11 or more there are only weak ot no soft corners.

The Nikon 16-35 is a extreme sharp lens but difficult to find a port not creating soft corners.

The very high megapixels of the D800 give the opportunity to do extreme crops and the incredible dynamic range can create HDR like photos.

 

Consider that you will need the best lenses to get the best out of your FX camera!

 

Chris

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The Nikon 16-35 is a extreme sharp lens but difficult to find a port not creating soft corners.

Consider that you will need the best lenses to get the best out of your FX camera!

Chris

 

 

And this is exactly why I have been developing an optical port for rectilinear wide angle lens:

 

http://wetpixel.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=54681

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Yeah Alex Mustard,

you did a great job with this special port and i guess that we all hope that he becomes one day available for everybody!

Chris

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we all hope that he becomes one day available for everybody!

 

I wont need it in the near future for sure as there are so many other things you can do to improve your photography till someone gets to the level of Alex Mustard and need this port.

I am sure you will get better corner sharpness, a new toy to play and that is all. I would rather put this big chunk of money on a workshop or a few diving trips.

Do not get me wrong if this port is all you need go for it. :)

Edited by scuba_d

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intersting article and i agree with a lot of the words of wisdom here.. However now that the D7200 has finally arrived does that change anyones opinion? I was looking at the D750 until i noticed the flash sync - 1/200.. with my D90 it is probably the thing that i dilsliked the most, so for me a win is the slightly higher sync speed of the D7200 and that coupled with the improved buffer seems good.

 

Of course if i could afford a D810 and housing that would be a different argument, so it is looking as though this UW photgrapher will more than likely sticking with DX for a while longer...

Edited by Alastair

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