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Author Topic: Do I really need my full-frame DSLR any more?  (Read 14433 times)
PeterAit
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« on: June 29, 2011, 10:09:58 AM »
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I have spent a small fortune on a Nikon D700 and a half-dozen lenses. It takes fantastic photos, but I find it is staying in the closet more and more. Why? Because I am getting the same quality results from my Panasonic G2. With 4 lenses. I cover the 35mm equiv range of 14 to 600 mm in a package that's 1/3 the weight and 1/2 the volume of the Nikon gear - and probably 1/4 the cost! Plus, 20% more pixels on the G2 (and 60% more when I get a G3).

Image quality? For the most part, I cannot see a difference. In my tests I have seen certain situations where the Nikon has a subtle advantage, but this is "pixel-peeper" stuff and is irrelevant to what I want to do with photography. With the G2 I have gotten wonderful photos that I would not have gotten at all with the Nikon because I didn't want to haul its cinder-block weight around with me.

I'll be interested to hear your comments.

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Peter
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uaiomex
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2011, 10:29:32 AM »
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When people say "my customers won't notice", me and some others would usually reply " but you do". Now, in this case since even you won't notice, I'd say you should sell the Nikon system.
Nobody said you need a dslr system to do anything in photography. It's entirely up to you and what you can perceive. I understand none of your customers notice either.
Eduardo


I have spent a small fortune on a Nikon D700 and a half-dozen lenses. It takes fantastic photos, but I find it is staying in the closet more and more. Why? Because I am getting the same quality results from my Panasonic G2. With 4 lenses. I cover the 35mm equiv range of 14 to 600 mm in a package that's 1/3 the weight and 1/2 the volume of the Nikon gear - and probably 1/4 the cost! Plus, 20% more pixels on the G2 (and 60% more when I get a G3).

Image quality? For the most part, I cannot see a difference. In my tests I have seen certain situations where the Nikon has a subtle advantage, but this is "pixel-peeper" stuff and is irrelevant to what I want to do with photography. With the G2 I have gotten wonderful photos that I would not have gotten at all with the Nikon because I didn't want to haul its cinder-block weight around with me.

I'll be interested to hear your comments.


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francois
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2011, 10:36:05 AM »
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I'm with Eduardo. If your customers don't see the difference between the G2 and your D700 and you only notice small differences then why bother with a heavier, more costly package? Sell your D700 and lenses when the system still has a good value.
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Francois
Jim Pascoe
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2011, 10:52:08 AM »
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I didn't see anywhere that Peter mentioned 'customers'.  In any case I have to agree that if you can't see any difference then it is madness to lug around the Nikon gear.  I have the GH2 and several lenses and I have to say the picture quality is excellent and it is definitely the camera I would take on a trip or holiday and have used for a few paying assignments too.

However...  We also use Canon 1 series cameras plus both the Mk1 and Mk2 5D cameras with good lenses and I have to say that there really is no comparison for a lot of the work we do, which is often in low light.  In fact it would be like going back to the 10D in terms of quality.  Now don't get me wrong, I have on occasions got pictures out of the GH2 (and G1 for that matter) which are very much like those out of the Canon cameras - but just not consistently.

So it all depends on what you shoot and whether the weight of your old system is too much of a pain.  Also worth remembering the role of the lenses.  The GH2 with the 20mm prime lens is much better than say a 5D with a mediocre zoom lens.  But put a 50mm f2 Zeiss on the 5D and you are in a better league.  But as I say, if you cant see the difference, or the difference is not material to you then go with the Panasonic full time.  A camera in the hand is worth three in the cupboard!

Jim
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francois
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2011, 10:59:37 AM »
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I didn't see anywhere that Peter mentioned 'customers'. 

Correct... I read Peter's post and merged it with Eduardo's reply. I must be tired, better go to bed!
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Francois
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2011, 12:51:05 PM »
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I may be tired too. I just assumed customers without even thinking twice. Since this a photo comunity and many of us think in terms of customers, I think everybody will survive. Smiley
Eduardo

Correct... I read Peter's post and merged it with Eduardo's reply. I must be tired, better go to bed!
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2011, 03:52:41 PM »
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Peter, I have both a Nikon D300, which I regularly use, and a Panasonic GH1, which I almost never use.  Why?  Because in situations with moderately high dynamic range (which happen a lot for me), I find that when I expose for the highlights (usually bright skies), the rest of the image is considerably darker using the GH1 than using the D300.  (I presume this is because the GH1's smaller sensor has less dynamic range.)  Does this match your experience?  I know I can bring up the shadows in the processing of the raw file, but the GH1 ends up noisier, needing a lot more tweaking, and just not looking as good to me.  I'd be interested in hearing your experience with this...

Lisa
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feppe
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« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2011, 04:00:18 PM »
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FWIW I sold my entire APS-C kit in May, a year after I bought an E-PL1 and was blown away with the image quality and (lack of) bulk and weight. There are very exciting prime lenses coming out from several manufacturers, and Olympus is releasing three new MFT cameras on Thursday.

As to Lisa's question on DR, I'm from slide shooting background (still do), so I'm not too concerned about it. But yeah, MFT sensors have less DR than bigger sensors. You either must live with it, adjust your shooting, or do HDR or digital blending when feasible.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2011, 04:04:46 PM by feppe » Logged

kers
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« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2011, 04:02:11 PM »
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I have a Nikon d3x- that is a lot of weight but it has 24mp and a good dynamic range so i choose that or i go to back to my iPhone if i want to be cameraless (careless, weightless)

That is my choice- but in your case if you have a g2 and 4 lenses I guess you have already chosen in favour of the g2.
I guess It all depends on what is needed for you personally to make the pictures you like.
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Pieter Kers
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« Reply #9 on: June 30, 2011, 12:09:34 AM »
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One factor not yet mentioned is that with larger sensors it's easier to achieve small dof.
However I don't know how important that is to your photography style.
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pieter, aka pegelli
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #10 on: June 30, 2011, 12:34:27 AM »
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I'm using my 5DII much less now that I have my pentax K5
A K5 and a IQ 180 would work for me, other than all the Canon lenses that I have
Just hoping the 5DIII has image quality and DR is better than the K5
Marc
« Last Edit: June 30, 2011, 02:56:32 AM by marcmccalmont » Logged

Marc McCalmont
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« Reply #11 on: June 30, 2011, 02:06:55 AM »
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I have a d700 plus a d300 with over a dozen lenses. A while back I bought the Canon g12 as a small alternative. The two systems complement each other - imo - rather than compete with each other. You can even take the DSLR, and a long or wide lens, along with the g12. There are enough differences between the two systems to justify not selling the DSLRS. The handling is obviously different and you enjoy using one or the other on separate occasions. There is of course the "snob" value of using the DSLR in public rather than the g12. Wink Grin
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2011, 03:29:11 AM »
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Peter,

It seems to me that you have already reached the answers that you are looking for here. IMO, the current image quality from 4/3 or APSC sensor sized cameras is capable of satisfying a lot of photographers. Certainly, resolution is more than enough for the majority of us who do not print wall sized photos, then the questions remaining regard things like dynamic range and artistic considerations like depth of field, and so on.

I do relate to your experience, as I have gone through a similar process in tha last couple of years. I have shot slide film with EOS cameras for 20 years, then I have bought a 5DMKII. Wonderful camera, that I have complemented with a small micro 4/3 system. I have tested the GH2 for a few months, but I quite never "clicked" with the camera. At the same time, the Pentx K5 was released. I always had a soft spot for Pentax and its ethos with commitment to fine prime Limited lenses. Then I have seriously considered what my future requirements would be, and opted for the K5. I simply could not justify to lug around a heavy EOS system (mind you, the lenses were heavy, not the 5DMKII itself).

These days, I can carry a couple of K5s and 3 Limited prime lenses in a small bag, the entire day. I am still learning this Pentax system, but the Limiteds are wonderful lenses, and the K5 gives superb results. To me, it is the perfect solution, and a very good compromise between a micro 4/3 sensor and a full frame sensor.
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PeterAit
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« Reply #13 on: June 30, 2011, 08:37:02 AM »
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Peter, I have both a Nikon D300, which I regularly use, and a Panasonic GH1, which I almost never use.  Why?  Because in situations with moderately high dynamic range (which happen a lot for me), I find that when I expose for the highlights (usually bright skies), the rest of the image is considerably darker using the GH1 than using the D300.  (I presume this is because the GH1's smaller sensor has less dynamic range.)  Does this match your experience?  I know I can bring up the shadows in the processing of the raw file, but the GH1 ends up noisier, needing a lot more tweaking, and just not looking as good to me.  I'd be interested in hearing your experience with this...

Lisa


I have not noticed this problem, but then again I have not specifically looked for it. Was there a sensor improvement between the GH1 and G2 that might have made a difference?

If you're interested, go to my photo gallery (below) and look at the Alaska portfolio. These are all G2 photos.
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Peter
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PeterAit
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« Reply #14 on: June 30, 2011, 08:37:57 AM »
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Correct... I read Peter's post and merged it with Eduardo's reply. I must be tired, better go to bed!

Nope, no customers - or darned few!
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Peter
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PeterAit
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« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2011, 09:10:05 AM »
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I have a d700 plus a d300 with over a dozen lenses. A while back I bought the Canon g12 as a small alternative. The two systems complement each other - imo - rather than compete with each other. You can even take the DSLR, and a long or wide lens, along with the g12. There are enough differences between the two systems to justify not selling the DSLRS. The handling is obviously different and you enjoy using one or the other on separate occasions. There is of course the "snob" value of using the DSLR in public rather than the g12. Wink Grin

I have a Canon G11 - for when the Panasonic outfit is too bulky!

As for "snob appeal, I took the Panasonic and 2 lenses on an Alaska photo cruise last summer - the camera was fairly new to the market at the time. It turns out that I was the center of attention, with all the full-frame DSLR luggers standing around oohing and aahing over my gear!
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Peter
"Photographic technique is a means to an end, never the end itself."
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Tim Gray
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« Reply #16 on: June 30, 2011, 09:23:50 AM »
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I'm a Canon 1DS 3 user and GH2 with lenses from 7-300mm (14-600 35mm equivalent) range plus the .95 Nokton and the 45mm macro.  The 45mm rivals the sharpness of my sharpest Canon lens - the 300 2.8 (apples and oranges, yes, but from a sharpness perspective it is equivalent).  In prints up to 17x25 which is the largest I print (cropping aside) I can't see the difference.  Perhaps a smidge less dynamic range but not enough as to get too stressed in PP.

There are still 2 things missing from Panasonic from my perspective: first is a body with a more professional build - weather sealing and a more robust feel, and second is faster long lenses.  There are still situations where my 70-200 2.8 or even 300 2.8 are what's required, and there is no Panasonic equivalent.  Arguably high ISO is "missing", but that's not a "deal killer" for me.

The GH2 will be my backup to a 2 week trip to Norway and 10 day cruise around Svalbard/Spitsbergen last 2 weeks of July.  I'm also going to bring my 2 tripods - the gitzo and Arca Swiss cube and a featherweight Benro TRCB069 (and also an infrared 7d).  Truth is I'm not really looking at the GH2 as a back up, but more of the always with me longer lens.  I was on Michael's last Antarctic trip and the folks who got the (somewhat) decent whale shots were the ones who ate drank and slept with their camera and long canon lens (typically the 300 2.8 ) at their sides.  The GH2 and 100-300 is light enough that it will always be at hand for the polar bear shots I'm hoping for.

As to whether the 1DS4 or however it's branded is interesting or not will depend on what it actually ends up being Smiley

Finally, as an aside, I have an ongoing battle with dust in the Canon and have been using the Gh2 for 6 months with no issue of dust whatsoever.  It may be that the anti dust thing is more effective, but my theory is that all the moving parts in the Canon act as a dust factory and all the sensor vibration in the world is only of marginal help.

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feppe
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« Reply #17 on: June 30, 2011, 11:02:57 AM »
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As for "snob appeal, I took the Panasonic and 2 lenses on an Alaska photo cruise last summer - the camera was fairly new to the market at the time. It turns out that I was the center of attention, with all the full-frame DSLR luggers standing around oohing and aahing over my gear!

I also get much more interest regarding my Oly E-PL1 and lenses than I ever got for my dull Canon gear. I think it's because pretty much anyone can see themselves using such a compact package, but any APS-C or larger DLSR would require one to be serious about photography.

It's also not at all intimidating when taking pictures of people, which seems to even help in the studio - no more "that's a huge lens, my skin will look awful" -complaints.
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k bennett
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« Reply #18 on: June 30, 2011, 01:37:34 PM »
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As for "snob appeal, I took the Panasonic and 2 lenses on an Alaska photo cruise last summer - the camera was fairly new to the market at the time. It turns out that I was the center of attention, with all the full-frame DSLR luggers standing around oohing and aahing over my gear!


I just got back from a conference where all the other photographers were carrying big DSLRs and lenses, and I had my GF1, G1, and a handful of lenses. Everyone wanted to play with them, and several said they were going out to buy one.
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Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #19 on: June 30, 2011, 02:08:59 PM »
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Hi,

I have both full frame (Sony Alpha 900) and APS-C (Sony Alpha 700 and 55 SLT), in my view the Alpha 900 has much better image quality at base ISO. Alpha 55SLT which has a recent Sony sensor is pretty good at higher ISOs.

In general I would expect larger sensors to benefit in resolution. Nikon doesn't have an affordable 20 MP+ full frame camera. Little doubt that the D3X is much better at base ISO than D3s or D700, but D3S and D700 excel at high ISOs.

Raw converters matter a lot, a good raw-converter may improve the quality of existing images quite a lot. Check this:

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/32-new-raw-processing-pipeline-in-lightroom-3-beta-2

Best regards
Erik
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