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The Great 24-Month Nikon Prophesy


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#1 mule_patterson

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 06:03 PM

The future is always right around the corner. Stick your head out and take a look at it... It is obvious that DX was an entry point for most digital shooters on a budget, but with that accomplished - or maintained for the remaining economic advantages it offers - FX will soon be an economical format we can all afford. The $8K D3x is a testimony to development costs still in place for the high end but the low end is staged to appear in 12mp models that will wipe out the need or desire for current DX models. Give it another 12-24 months and you will likely see a D800, D900 or D1000 with a price tag that will amaze you like the D90 has recently. My guess is a D300-priced FX replacement utilizing the increasingly cheaper D3/D700 sensor in the $1000-$2000 range is on the drawing board right now. The D700 body has already been prepped as a platform for new models and gives Nikon a cost advantage of fitting new tech into a body we can all drool over - and afford. We gotta think quicker too - even the D3 has already been leapfrogged by the D700 in practical terms but will remain a legendary model like the D2x in spite of a rapidly declining market price - it is just a 12mp camera after all. The D700 will survive long enough for this new level to become established and then sell like the discontinued D200/D300 is today. All this in less than two years. Who knows what consumer models are in mind - can you imagine a consumerized FX D95 body? I can.. Hence my stand on buying just FX lenses from now on. DX will not appeal to future shooters who can have clean, high quality, high ISO images - we've dealt with noise long enough. Automation is another big development need in camera design - a hundred menu selections is absurd! With no real limitations to capturing images under nearly any lighting with the FX sensor, getting the picture is what will appeal to smart buyers, like us. Nikon needs to flatten the learning curve before someone like Sony does it first. I suggest no one buy another DX body if you can hold out for another 18-24 months - you will be glad you did. Just keep using those cute little DX cameras as snapshooters, second bodies or sell off to family or friends. Man, my brain hurts after all that... can I expect some insightful comments from Dave, Darrell and others? Mule
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#2 DigitalDarrell

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Posted 09 December 2008 - 10:53 PM

Interesting points, Mule. I can agree with you mostly. However, one point that seems to support DX is that there are no other manufacturers besides Sony, Nikon, and Canon with an FX size sensor. All other cameras have 4:3rds, APS-C, and APS-H sensors. A huge number of DX type lenses have been created. Lenses have a loooong lifetime. DX is here for a long time, I am afraid. FX may become affordable, but then DX will become even more so. Imagine a DX like the D300 for $300 USD. FX will always be more expensive to manufacture. The larger the CMOS area, the higher the cost. A DX provides several times the number of sensors as an FX size, and not just because of the smaller size. As a sensor increases in size, the flaws become much more troublesome. I read an article about this the other day, and they claimed that larger sensors are significantly higher in cost due to more flaws, rather than larger size. Time will tell on this issue. However, there were always 110 cameras even though 35mm was all the rage. Smaller formats have their places. I'll move up to FX too, when the price is right. For now, I have no immediate plans. My images are selling quite well on Alamy, and they are ALL created with a DX sensor. As you have pointed out, the lens is much more important than the camera. Buying FX lenses is the smart thing to do, if one has the money. If not, the DX lenses are no slouches.
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#3 mule_patterson

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 03:31 AM

Don't get me wrong, DD. I'm a big fan of DX and will likely use one for another year or two before upping to an FX machine - and keep my remaining two DX optics as well. A $300 D300 DX is a great deal but it is limited to DX performance (see next paragraph). As all things photographic, the cost of FX will tumble - it has to for Nikon to survive. Everyone is getting tired of buying 'another' DX camera and I just don't want too much of an investment in a format that I will soon replace. The big reason to upgrade will be directly related to the FX format - noise control. This has to be minimized as a factor for serious shooters across the board. P&S cameras are still plagued with this issue, along with DX sensor bodies, no matter what people spend - it's all about the sensor. A 'noiseless' camera will become the standard all makes will have to attain to for serious shooters to remain brand loyal. I love Nikon technology but need better performance to optimize my photographic experience - and Auto ISO combined with a clean 1600+ image is a priority for me. Fast pro glass completes the equation for the ultimate DSLR experience and a sub-$2000 FX body is not far away. Besides, the 14-24 and 24-70 are cream of the crop optics that cost only $300 more than the 17-55 DX zoom - that's a no-brainer for me. Other great buys abound too - the 24-120 VR is a bargain now, AF primes, AI/AI-S optics and third party lenses are other options to have FX optics in hand for the future. I'm starting the conversion now by reserving my lens investments to the FX format. I know this sounds radical to many of you but how many lenses have you bought that would have easily financed what I am proposing? I'm probably more guilty than anyone! I'm totally excited about this - almost moreso than turning to digital in the first place - as the D3/D700 sensor developments create better, cheaper bodies to come. I'm proud to own a D300 and will shoot with it for many years as my last DX body, but with strategic lens acquisitions, will be ready for my next body - FX is on the rise! Mule
Brian "Mule" Patterson
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#4 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:51 AM

You can't spout heresy like that on this site Mule, only I can get away with it as I am beyond redemption! I think the DX sensor will still be around for quite a while, but filter down to the Coolpix range with the Nikon consumer and prosumer DSLR's all going FX eventually. Maybe eventually, like the Leica which has managed to put a low end medium format sensor in a DSLR sized body, the Pro's will eventually move up to the rumored Nikon Medium format DSLR from the FX sensor in time, but as it requires a whole new lens range this will take probably a decade. The price of technology decreases in real terms year by year. Remember what a 4 Megabyte hard disk used to cost for your computer. Now in real terms we get a multi Gigabyte one for the same money. TV cathode ray tubes once used to be limited to 12" as that was the largest manual glassblowers could blow. Then came mechanisation and we were up to 28" plus. The same will happen with chips over the coming years, that is if they don't find some new technology to replace silicon. Who knows if the Foveon sensor will ever be developed far enough to replace the CCD and CMOS sensors? One thing is certain, that unlike film electronics will develop considerably over the next decades, so tomorrows camera will be a lot different to todays, but nobody really knows which direction it will ultimately go. Maybe as I have said previously, given faster and faster motordrives and larger and larger chips in video cameras the dedicated stills camera may eventually dissapear and all stills will simply be frames extracted from a video sequence? Times change and will continue to do so. As as been said before, a camera is now simply a computer with a lens on it and will suffer the same regular redundancy and innovation as the computer does. We cannot always look back at the traditional mechanical film camera of of the past to predict the evolution of the digital camera of the future. One other factor Mule should have added is that of lenses. The lens resolution needed for higher megapixeled small sensors is now running into optical problems and lens faults are starting to show. It was a known fact from film days that the larger the format the lesser quality your lens could be, since for the same sized print you enlarged the image less and so all lens faults were also enlarged less. Therefore by moving up to a larger format you reduce the lens designers problems in some ways since the ultimate image is enlarged less even if bigger glass does cost more, but then again technology and computer controlled mechanisation can also bring this cost down. I think many using 35mm film and then using some excellent full frame film lenses on their DX cameras may have noticed lens faults film did not show since the 35mm frame was not enlarged as much for the same sized print as the DX frame. Dave Whiteley
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#5 José

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:22 AM

Hello everyone,

This topic certainly has some great information in it and gives one much to consider. One thing that sticks in the back of my mind is, "how much camera does a person need?" Another factor that comes to mind is, "when does you current camera model become truly obsolete?"

One person may make a stance on having to have the latest gear within a studio. Another might make a stance on saying that as a "Professional" he/she must have the latest gear...always.

It seems to me that the gear is not as important as the output it produces. The fact that a newer camera comes out will not change the output of the camera you now have. The output it produces is controlled by the user not the camera. So, I ask again, how much camera does a person need and when does it truly become obsolete?
José

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#6 mule_patterson

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:52 AM

I'm enjoying your comments, gents, as they all have merit!

"You can't spout heresy like that on this site Mule, only I can get away with it as I am beyond redemption!

I think the DX sensor will still be around for quite a while, but filter down to the Coolpix range with the Nikon consumer and prosumer DSLR's all going FX eventually."


Sorry for stepping on your toes, Dave, but I got there first! The important thing is we agree - FX is the new prosumer format coming down the pike.

Jose - it isn't about just having the latest - it's about conquering digital shortcomings - noise especially. That and resolution, af performance, exposure control, etc.

I gotta disagree with this point - "The fact that a newer camera comes out will not change the output of the camera you now have. The output it produces is controlled by the user not the camera. " While I fully agree on the content - focus, composition, color, etc. - as being in our hands, Nikon develops new bodies to expand the useable range of their recording devices. Someday, we're gonna be able to take pictures at night as easily as daytime - they'll just be a little darker! Nikon is concentrating on noise and a greater dynamic range with each new model. That's what makes the D3 such a landmark model - it attacks the inherent limitations of most sensors to perform best at the lowest ISO. Nikon says, "Not good enough!". And I agree.

Our use of a DSLR camera is not all that has prompted Nikon's developments. It's the photojournalists, sports shooters, landscapers and studio folks with the highest demands placed on them. We benefit from their needs, so at any point we can stop and enjoy the body we have enormously.
Brian "Mule" Patterson
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#7 José

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 11:44 AM

Hello Mule, My point was only to suggest that the equipment does not make the shot...the photographer does. Later comes editing and that too produces something vastly different. Take a look at Ansel Adams and his work. That makes my point. All the best.
José

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#8 Arlon

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 12:19 PM

Follow the money. What is the financial reward of selling more FX cameras? FX lenses of course. Where have you spent the most money? On bodies or lenses? It will give Nikon a chance to provide a whole new series of FX lenses for the new FX cameras everyone is going to have to have. May also drive prices of old 35mm lenses up a little. Of course there would also be pixel upgrades for a few years then a new still larger format after that maybe with another det of lenses... Nice thing about digital development, it doesn't depend on film makers to follow suit..

Edited by Arlon, 10 December 2008 - 12:27 PM.

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#9 mule_patterson

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 12:32 PM

Jose, Thanks for hanging in there with this controversial subject - don't mean to offend anyone, just push the envelope in the way we think... To some degree the equipment does make the shot - film cameras can do little to compare with digital bodies, right? I was looking at an art book of Ansel's images in Borders just last week and the limitations of film and wet darkroom technology was all too obvious to what can be done today. No disrespect intended - he was a great film, wet chemistry photographer. It would be even more amazing what he would have done with digital gear, huh? Digital is taking large leaps forward with such issues as noise and resolution. Faster, cleaner ISO's open up more stock image opps and make a wedding shoot come out way better - especially with non-flash shooters. The whole experience is optimized when you can forget about ISO issues and know you've got a great image no matter how you shoot it. Current cameras are limited in this regard. I could use a 16mp camera but not with noise issues or a slow frame rate, so a body design on that level would do it for me for a very long time. My D300 is fast enough but too noisy for my taste. resolution is great but file size is just a tad limiting. My next post-D700 body purchase should be golden - if I can afford it. The de facto interfaces need to be rethought too for the user experience - maybe shooting banks that already have action, landscape, portrait and the like already finely preprogrammed but still editable in basic formats - JPG vs. RAW, for instance, without duplicating all the other parameters individually. Even scenarios such as astrophotography or macrophotography could be setup without reading a 200-page manual - or buying third party books - each time you get stumped by a single control issue. I can't remember all this stuff and simply don't have that much free time - I'd rather be shooting! Mule
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#10 Neil Rothschild

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 02:13 PM

I think this is a tough call. The purpose of a zoom is to keep you from switching lenses. I find my 24-120 to be a bit long on the wide end although I certainly like the flexibility on the long end. The 24-70 would suffer from the same problem. I don;t see much practical difference between 55mm and 70mm but I see a huge difference between 17 and 24mm, arguing for the 17-55DX. If I were going to buy a Pro zoom now, I would probably buy the 24-70, setting myself up for FX, which I would like to have at the right price and time. Having just acquired a D300, I have had my fill of instantly depreciating camera hardware this year :lol: If I were settled into DX for the foreseeable future I would probably go with the 17-55. Since Jon has shot the 24-120 for years, I'm sure he can muddle his focal length dilemma way through this without my advice :-) As a long lens shooter, I don't think DX will go away very soon. All else equal, I see advantages for FX (for the same number of pixels, just bigger pixels) for "normal" shooting, but I think it will be a long time before FX is necessarily the right choice for long lens shooters. We will need 8-10fps, at least on a DX crop, at the same pixel density as the then available DX cameras, for starters. At anywhere near $8K for a high density sensor I think long lens shooters will want that 600/4 before they think about throwing huge money at more pixels and FX sized glass, which just makes that 600/4 look like a 400/4. Neil

#11 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 05:00 PM

I read somewhere Nikon have decided not to refer to DX as "Full Frame" since that would make a nonsense of even larger formats when they are introduced, since the low end medium format DSLR is to be dubbed MX format. That would mean a new range of even larger more expensive lenses Neil with no doubt a new larger bayonet mount, and though you would gain at the wide angle end you would loose at the telephoto end, which is the end you need. Even your present focal lengths would be a lot larger and heavier beasts. I would think therefore the larger MX format is going to appeal more to studio photographers, wedding photographers, and those who want wide angle lenses, but only need medium telephoto lenses. After all the 35mm film format only came into being for lightness as Oscar Barnack (of Leica) who invented it did not want to carry medium format cameras on his hikes and was quickly adopted by sports and natural history photographers. The wedding and studio photographers stuck to either twin lens medium format film cameras, or larger format studio cameras for a long time afterwards. Dave Whiteley
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#12 james23p

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 06:50 PM

I for one am on the fence and I flip flop all the time. For now I am using a DX body and will for the foreseable future. That said I will not buy another DX lens I have two very very good proline DX lens that will tide me over. As far as Ansel Adams I see no restriction what so ever in his pics period. He shot Large Format and this is definatly apples and oranges. There is not a modern digital photography who has yet to reach the heights of AA. Here in memphis even the local McD's has AA hanging in the dinning room. I have looked and looked and I can not see where digital would improve anything he has done except maybe color but he often said he prefered BW. His prints are master pieces thats like saying Picasso would have done better with modern brushes etc this is not a good argument Mule. AA's pics are the standard and have yet to be surpassed by film or digital photographers. Plus to be honest I do not feel qualified to judge AA's work and to be honest there are very few who can. Now on to DX vs FX on this you have some excellent points I am not sure DX will go away and I think the pro like D300 will at least see a few more rotations as the DX format still has advantages for some photographic circles. Now the FX is more comfortable for many of us comming from film since this is what we cut our teeth on. But many new photographers are not comming from the traditional 35mm world and they have no affection for the 35mm size and format so they will use what they will get the most bang for the buck and currently that is DX and smaller. Heck Panasonic and Olympus have introduced an even smaller format the 4/3 micro system. So I think DX will be around as long and I quote Dave as the comsumers continue to buy it and make money for the comapies who make it. Canon has had FF for a long time now and they still sell DX in most of their lineup. But I do agree that over the next few years it might be touch and go on which way the market will go. Free enterprise will prevail so the consumer meaing us will have to move cautiously. Jim PS sorry if this is hard to read I have been typing this at work off and on and it may be disjointed.

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#13 mule_patterson

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Posted 10 December 2008 - 10:30 PM

A lengthy thread on the dpreview.com forum discusses this subject at great length - including comments by Thom Hogan. It is essentially what I've postulated here but with many more interesting viewpoints.

Covers the economics, convergence of a price-reduced D70 to the introduction of new prosumer FX models, and offers some great insights on the user experience and image possibilities.

Read it here. I'm officially retiring my commentary on this subject.

Mule
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#14 Dave Whiteley

Dave Whiteley

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 05:54 AM

If Ansel Adams were alive now Jim he would be a rampant Photoshopper. His photography owed as much to darkroom manipulation as it did to the camera. He is known to have experimented with many chemicals and bleaches to get the effects he wanted. Virtually none of his shots were straight prints from unmodified negatives. He was a darkroom technician as much as a cameraman. That is why he preferred black and white as you cannot abuse colour film or printing paper to the same extent without getting crossed curves and unnatural colours. How you rate Ansel Adams depends on whether you believe the shot should be created in the camera and reproduced with the minimum post processing, or if you believe the camera image is merely a starting point for extensive modification? That is why when people go and photograph Half Dome from the same position he did, even if the lighting was the same, they cannot produce the same effect as it was not simply produced in the camera but heavily modified in the darkroom. Dave Whiteley
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#15 José

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 12:01 PM

Hello Dave, You are absolutely right in your explanation of Ansel Adams. The one difference is that he envisioned what the photo would look like before he actually saw it developed physically. That is where the art he carried within him came from. He worked the shot both in camera and in the lab within his mind before it actually appeared on paper. Another photographer who does this now is Jon and I am sure many others here do also. As I continue my journey in photography I see the need for both sides of art to be in use. In the past I sought only to create within the camera. Now, I have to rethink that, our abilities as photographers are almost endless given the rise of current software. Finally, it would indeed be interesting to see where Ansel would go today. Good points, good topic. Keep them coming.
José

”There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.”
- Ansel Adams

#16 Dave Whiteley

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Posted 11 December 2008 - 03:31 PM

I believe Ansel Adams actually predicted that in the future photography would go digital?

http://www.largeform...ad.php?p=415230

Dave Whiteley
Nikon D200
AF-S DX Nikkor 18-70 mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED
60mm f/2.8D AF Micro-Nikkor
70mm-180mm AF ED f4.5-f5.6 D Micro-Nikkor
Tamron SP AF200-500MM F/5-6.3 Di LD (IF)
Nikon PB6 belows, Nikon Tubes.
2X Nikon SB600 flash guns
Manfrotto dual flash bracket




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