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Thread: A potentially stupid question

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    Ausphotography Regular enseth's Avatar
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    A potentially stupid question

    I decided it was time to upgrade my camera body, so this being the case I thought I may as well go the whole hog and get a full frame camera. The camera arrived on Monday and I'm thrilled to bits with it. Apart from all the new bells & whistles I've got to play with it takes a great photo.

    Ok enough pre-amble. My question relates to lenses. I have some lenses that are full frame compatible but most I own are APS-C lenses, including my general "walk-around" lens. Of course the new camera switches automatically to APS-C mode when I attach one of these lenses, (except in the case of the Sigma lens, but I can live with that) and they take great sharp photos, as they are quality lenses. One could leave it at that and say "The camera is taking good photos now. What are you worried about?" But from a technical point of view, am missing out on much by not using full frame lenses with the new camera?

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    keen learner of new tricks.
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    my honest opinion is NO. Have a good play with what you have already (pardon attatched here...) and soon you will understand your needs and what you want in a `better` lens. Enjoy that new toy...
    Graeme
    "May the good Lord look down and smile upon your face"......Norman Gunston___________________________________________________
    Nikon: D7000, D80, 12-24 f4, 17-55 f2.8, 18-135, 70-300VR, 35f2, SB 400, SB 600, TC-201 2x converter. Tamron: 90 macro 2.8 Kenko ext. tubes. Photoshop CS2.


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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    +1 to Graeme's reply.

    I'm kind'a in the same boat. Got a D800, and had to many fave'd APS-C lenses, some of which I eventually got updated to full frame version, and yet still no UWA .. which is my usual main goto lens anyhow(Sigma 10-20mm)

    I tried the Sigma on the D800 with the auto APS-C sensing mode, and it recognised it OK as a crop lens.
    I don't use the auto Dx mode on the camera tho, I prefer to crop the final image to where I like it .. sometimes close to APS-C dimensions, sometimes to square format .. depending on the scene I guess.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II : 150-600mm|S
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Contrary to the posts above, there is no point in having a full-frame camera if you are using it in crop mode. Sure, you can get along with your existing specialty lenses for the time being, but you really should at least get one full-frame lens. This should be your most-used lens, typically a standard zoom, something like a 24-70/2.8 or a 24-120/4. Even a modestly priced general purpose zoom will still outperform any lens on your old camera, or that same APS-C lens on your new one in crop mode.

    Summary: upgrade your walk-around lens. Worry about the others later.
    Tony

    Edit and critique at will. Tokina 10-17 fish, Canon 10-22, 24-105, 100-400, TS-E 24, 35/1.4, 60 macro, 100L macro, 500/4, Wimberley, MT-24EX, 580EX-II, 1D IV, 7D, 5D II, 50D.

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    Thanks for the response all. Tony has sort of summarized my initial gut feeling, which is what prompted me to ask the question in the first place.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I suppose the obvious question we should also have asked, is what lenses do you currently have.

    While in general I agree with Tony's comment about having a full frame camera, it's not as dire as situation as wasted.

    There were many reasons I wanted a a new camera was one of which was the increased dynamic range and for the higher quality high ISO output.
    I could have gone with an APS-C camera again, but then the decision for a full frame camera was as a future endeavour as well.

    I wouldn't concern myself with any immediate requirement to make full use of the camera, as you still have a certain benefit from using the new camera. New features(most likely) and better overall performance.
    But in saying that, your next goals will be to add full frame capable lenses to the kit as well.

    You say that most of your lenses are APS-C, which implies that you have at least one(maybe more) full frame capable lenses. So you still have some 'full frame' capability.

    Like I said earlier, I have the Sigma 10-20 which I use as my current UWA on the D800. I have no issue using it as my current UWA, and while I also have the money to get myself either and two new UWA lenses, I'm not rushing into it either.
    I'm still yet to decide if I want either of the three lenses currently on my list (Simga 12-24, Nikon 16-35VR, Nikon 18-35AF-S) .. and yet in the time I've had the D800, I've spent about $2K on other lenses, many specialty lenses as well.
    That is, even tho my primary preference is for an UWA lens as I predominantly like to do landscape photography, the Simga 10-20 still gives me UWA images albeit at cropped settings, but with the Fx camera it also allows me a bit more flexibility too now as it gives me more scope for cropping(in or out) parts of the scene, I couldn't originally get with an APS-C camera.
    There's probably about 5% more image available from the 10-20 on a Fx frame than you get on Dx in standard format, and possibly 10-15% more frame available if I crop to 1:1 square format. So, some benefit(in framing) is available to me at the moment in still using APS-C lenses on the D800. As well as the higher quality image rendering(sharpness/dynamic range/ISO/etc).

    I will eventually get myself an UWA lens or two before the year is out tho .. it's just that there is no rush.

    The one main advantage I found in the step to Fx, was in the longer focal lengths and as Tony pointed out, the 24-70mm range at least and (importantly for me) the 50+mm focal lengths .. is the ability to render very shallow DOF as required. That was what I prioritised. And even tho I already had a 28-75/2.8, I felt my primary need was for a new lens in the 24-70 range(which I got).


    To answer your question:

    Quote Originally Posted by enseth View Post
    ...... But from a technical point of view, am missing out on much by not using full frame lenses with the new camera?
    I'd have to say no! Well actually yes, you're missing a few pixels here and there relative to what you may otherwise have captured, but this is really only important only if you have a need to print large .. very large!
    But by and large tho, I'd have to say no! As long as you're currently content in shooting with your favoured lens(this walk'about lens) and it can be in either crop mode or Fx mode, you aren't actually missing out on anything.
    I say by and large tho, because you are missing out on some ability to render a shallower DOF with an 'equivalent lens'.

    That is, if your currently preferred lens is something like a 18-200mm, then the equivalent lens for your Fx camera would be the 28-300mm lens, in terms of captured FOV.
    Overall, while you may(or may not) see some differences at the longer focal lengths in terms of how the image will render, one difference will be the ability to isolate the background more with the 28-300 as compared to the 18-200 on your crop camera.
    But this is slightly misleading in a sense, as you're not actually missing it(the ability to render a more shallow DOF) as you've never had that capability before with that lens .. and so you can't miss something you haven't ever had.
    I'm fairly sure tho, that if you do ever replace the walkabout lens with it's full frame capable stablemate for your Fx camera, you really won't notice this all that much anyhow .. once again coming back to the point of "are you missing anything".

    These are just my experiences, over the past 12 months or so. Took me 6 or 8 months to update my 24/28 - 70/75 mm lens and still, the lens is the main one I seem to opt for on the D800, which is strange as the 28-75/2.8 was also my primary option on the D300 too! ie. not the 17-50/2.8 on the D300 which supposedly gives the same FOV range as the 24-70 on full frame.
    For me, a primary interest is the lens's overall ability, rather than simply how much FOV it can capture that makes it a favoured lens.

    sorry! ... long winded(as always), and probably no help to you in the end. I think the important point to ask(yourself, or us) is what is your primary motive, what do you like to shoot, and maybe give a rundown of which lenses you already have. The unknown aspect to this is, has the change of format also changed your preference for any particular type (or usage) of lens as well.

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    Arthur said......quote....

    There were many reasons I wanted a a new camera was one of which was the increased dynamic range and for the higher quality high ISO output.
    I could have gone with an APS-C camera again, but then the decision for a full frame camera was as a future endeavour as well.


    I agree wholeheartedly and this is the reason that I would go to a FF......one day...maybe..

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    Here is the nub of it:

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurking83 View Post
    There were many reasons I wanted a a new camera was one of which was the increased dynamic range and for the higher quality high ISO output.
    And, of course, you only get that higher quality output if you use the whole sensor. This is why you get at least one go-to lens. Otherwise, you have spent extra to buy an inferior product. A designed-for-purpose APS-C camera will always be better at APS-C than a full framer, all else being equal. In particular, you only get the lower noise from the bigger sensor. Basic physics.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Yeah, for a static output size, the larger sensor will usually provide some improvements in IQ, such as for high ISO noise suppression.
    But the newer camera still provides for an improvement at the same sensor output size too.

    that is, the D800 used in crop mode, still gives better high ISO, and sharpness(because mine's a D800E) and dynamic range when compared to the D300.

    The D800 in crop mode provides a very slight increase in pixel count compared to many older (Nikon)APS-C cameras, and compared to the D300, it's about 3Mp more .. so there are still a few advantages in upgrading camera immediately, and lenses later.

    Of course eventually the plan is to have all lenses capable of covering the full 35mm frame format .. but like I said, sometimes it's doesn't just work out that the lenses you favour or use the most end up becoming the priority lenses to replace(well it hadn't for me so far).

    I've even had these weird thoughts to get either the Nikon 14-24, or the Tokina 16-28 lenses, which in my view constitute two of the least practical every day type UWA lenses(for the way I use them).
    I just prefer to take time to weight up some options, get a feel for what is more important and then make a choice on which lenses are the priority.

    In the mean time, I still have the APS-C lens to use as my only lens for the full frame camera.

    Mind you tho, the only other APS-C only lens that I have(17-50/2.8) has basically made retirement. It's an OK lens on APS-C, has made some nice sharp images, but never seemed to have any character .... in terms of colour rendering or bokeh, like the 28-75 does.

    Like I said, I think it's dependent on the lenses in question too. Some lenses still work ok(of course with much cropping to be made), but others may not feel quite worth the effort.

    The other APS-C lens I have access too(my sons, so not mine really) is the 18-105VR .. I've never even thought to try it on the D800. I may do that tho, just to see how it feels.

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    Thank you for the very comprehensive response to my question, which maybe should have been better phrased as " What aspects of the full frame camera and I failing to fully utilize by using APS-C lenses rather than full frame lenses?". As Arthurking rightly says you can't be missing something if you never had it before. Despite my poor phrasing of the question you have all provided me with detailed answers. As you point out there is more to the new FF camera than just an increased sensor size. It certainly has more features and increased dynamic range.

    In answer to questions that arose in the related posts I have the following gear:

    The camera is a Sony A99

    Full Frame Lenses
    Sony 70-400mm F/4-5.6 GII (Mainly used for "Birding". My latest addition and proving to be great lens for the job)
    Sigma 105mm F/2.8 Macro (For macro photography)
    Tamron 28-300mm F/3.5-6.7 (General zoom. Not my favorite lens. I don't use it much)

    APS-C Lenses
    Sony 16-50mm F/2.8 (My general walkaround lens. Great lens, nice & sharp)
    Sony 35mm F/1.8 (Used mainly for limited portrait photos & indoors)
    Sigma 10-20mm F/4-5.6 ( Wide Angle for landscapes etc)


    My initial thought was to get a new Full Frame 28-75mm F/2.8 as a walkaround lens.

    Thanks again for all your replies. They have been most informative.

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