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Author Topic: Wanted: a quick guide to Nikon Lenses,  (Read 8408 times)
Justinr
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« on: October 05, 2013, 05:48:20 AM »
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I'm looking at getting into a full frame Nikon but am slightly bewildered by the lens situation. My idea would be a used D700 (because of its compact dimensions as much as anything else) but I'm not totally au fait with which lenses would fit.

Any words of wisdom appreciated.
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D Fosse
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2013, 09:03:01 AM »
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Well, obvoiusly you can't use DX lenses. The DX Nikkors have a DX designation, so that's easy enough, but with other brands it's not so obvious. You may have to dig into the data sheet.

Other than that, it really depends on what kind of photography you do. But one very basic decision is whether you want to go zoom or prime. The advantages of zooms are obvious; but there are less obvious downsides. One of the least obvious is that it encourages laziness - yes it does! - and you may miss the most exciting shots because you weren't on your feet, so to speak.

Sharpness is another matter. Any lens is sharp in the center, but the real test is out towards the corners. Primes have the edge there, simply because there is less glass (and now I'm sure there will be a storm of protests...).

The speed of a lens (max aperture) isn't so important as it used to be, because you can bump ISO to a degree you never could with film.

Personally I have a very limited set for my D800: 24, 35, 50, 60 micro, 85, 105 micro. No zoom. I probably miss out on occasion, but you can't get every shot. Nobody does. I think it's most important of all to have lenses you are familiar and comfortable with, so that you know what you get even before looking into the viewfinder.
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Justinr
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2013, 11:10:41 AM »
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Well, obvoiusly you can't use DX lenses. The DX Nikkors have a DX designation, so that's easy enough, but with other brands it's not so obvious. You may have to dig into the data sheet.

Other than that, it really depends on what kind of photography you do. But one very basic decision is whether you want to go zoom or prime. The advantages of zooms are obvious; but there are less obvious downsides. One of the least obvious is that it encourages laziness - yes it does! - and you may miss the most exciting shots because you weren't on your feet, so to speak.

Sharpness is another matter. Any lens is sharp in the center, but the real test is out towards the corners. Primes have the edge there, simply because there is less glass (and now I'm sure there will be a storm of protests...).

The speed of a lens (max aperture) isn't so important as it used to be, because you can bump ISO to a degree you never could with film.

Personally I have a very limited set for my D800: 24, 35, 50, 60 micro, 85, 105 micro. No zoom. I probably miss out on occasion, but you can't get every shot. Nobody does. I think it's most important of all to have lenses you are familiar and comfortable with, so that you know what you get even before looking into the viewfinder.

Many thanks for the response and my apologies for making the question a little too general, it's something of a bad habit of mine I'm afraid.  What I'm really trying to work out is which Nikon lenses will fit the FF Nikons as I know that some do and some don't but wasn't sure which was which and here you have kindly pointed out that anything DX won't fit, so, will everything else, assuming it's not an old M42 mount or similar?

Basically I have been with Pentax (and Mamiya for studio/landscape) for a few years thinking they were going to do something sensible with the dSLRS, even go full frame maybe, but they have sat on their hands doing nothing but issue rumours. As someone pointed out in another place, they need to have a poo or get off the pot, which made me laugh if nothing else. Looking round it seems to me that Nikon are the company setting the bar nowdays and so that's where I feel I ought to be but I don't really know anything about the kit.

My work is usually at the wide angle end of life, machinery, buildings, landscapes and so on,  so I'll be looking mainly for a good short zoom that offers flexibility rather than fixed lenses, and perhaps something longer for portraits and events.

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« Last Edit: October 05, 2013, 11:17:33 AM by Justinr » Logged

D Fosse
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2013, 12:00:59 PM »
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anything DX won't fit

Actually they will fit, that's the problem. You'll just get a vignette. They can be used in cropped sensor mode - the D800 can be set up to do this automatically, can't recall with the D700 but there's probably a way. But with the D700 there's really not enough resolution for it to make any sense.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2013, 06:55:28 AM »
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You seem to be a good candidate for the nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR.

I don't own one but hear very good things about it.

As far as the camera goes, cost is IMHO the only reason why you would want to pick the D700 over the D800.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Justinr
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« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2013, 08:04:43 AM »
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You seem to be a good candidate for the nikkor 16-35mm f4 VR.

I don't own one but hear very good things about it.

As far as the camera goes, cost is IMHO the only reason why you would want to pick the D700 over the D800.

Cheers,
Bernard


Cost is certainly a big issue. The photography is now just bit player rather than the whole of the show, a shame in many ways but the trade has been all but wiped out around these parts over the past few years (I've see three other people try their hand at going pro in town since the recession started biting, none of them are at it now).  Thanks for the lens suggestion, I'll take a look at that.
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Paul2660
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« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2013, 09:33:18 AM »
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One of the best starting places would be lloyd Chambers site, he has detailed write ups on just about every Nikkor and Zeiss lens.  It's a pay site, but not too much.

http://diglloyd.com/

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Paul Caldwell
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langier
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« Reply #7 on: October 06, 2013, 10:08:15 AM »
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Still shooting my D700 even though I have a D800 just because of the "file bloat" for day to day shooting. Though I have the 14-24 which is a super lens, my daily shooters are the 17-35 2.8 and the 24-120 4.0.

I've had the 17-35 since before digital and its one super lens for my style of work. The 24-120 does the bulk of. My event work especially with the extra 50mm reach over the 24-120 and its lighter weight besides.

With these two lenses and added to two bodies, I've got 85-90% of all my shooting needs covered for travel, landscapes and events and seldom lacking.

Besides Lloyd Chamber's pay site (Lloyd knows his tech), good reviews can be found at by bythom.com a site that's more than pixel peeping and boring test and comparison photos of boring photos.

Bottom line is the final image and striving for the perfect lenses to that point keeps you from capturing the moment. Save a few $$ in your budget to actually go out and use the stuff.
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Larry Angier
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PeterAit
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« Reply #8 on: October 06, 2013, 12:45:44 PM »
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The Nikkor 14-24mm and 24-70mm zooms are lovely lenses. Pricey and heavy, thought. I recommend staying away from the D700. A lovely camera, to be sure, but low on the MP count -12 IIRC? - by today's standards. I sold mine a while ago because it did not offer any IQ advantage over my 16 MP 4/3 camera (Panasonix G3) except at high ISOs, which I rarely need. Check out the D600 - cheaper and lighter than the D800.
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Justinr
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« Reply #9 on: October 06, 2013, 01:36:06 PM »
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Thank you Pete and Langier, more meat to chew upon.  Smiley

The 12m pixel count is not something that worries me too much as most of my work ends up either on the web or in magazines most of whom only want something at 300dpi minimum. Running a Mamiya with 'only' 22mp also persuades me that there may be something to be said for larger pixels. But then again, there is no doubt that a high mp adds a certain precision to an image no matter what file size is eventually used or how it is displayed. Quality tells as they say.

Are the pictures on your website taken mainly with the D700 and the lenses you mentioned Langier? The IQ is certainly up from what I'm getting at the moment, and the same is obvious from your gallery as well Pete.

Another factor is robustness as it will likely be carted around on a bike and it may not be such a good idea to have high value kit bouncing around in a top box. For all its faults (not many it must admitted) the K5 did emerge in better shape than either me or the bike from this -

« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 01:40:23 PM by Justinr » Logged

langier
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« Reply #10 on: October 06, 2013, 04:33:33 PM »
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Hi Justinr,

Most of my website is taken with the D700/D3/D3s, especially the past two years. All my work in Mallorca, Serbia, Greece from 2012 is with a D800 and D700 and with the 17-35, 24-120, 70-300 (fewer photos) and with the 8mm and 15mm Sigma fisheye lenses.

Probably the best place to look at the IQ with those two bodies and the two short Nikkors is at this link: http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk

Most of the interior photos were pushing the limits of ISO and DR with my skills to get the photos. However, one's results will vary depending upon experience in the craft of photography. The image of the anointing of the nun's forehead <http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/I0000XiVwocP_bF8/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk> was taken with the D700 and shot with the 24-120 then copped to tighten up the composition. An example of the 17-35, though on the D800 is this one in the same gallery <http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/I0000FrFf_KdTW50/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk> The entire series in that gallery is with either body and mainly those two lenses.

Above my desk here in my studio is a 30x20 print from the Anointing--taken with the D700/24-120. The others in the background were also taken on the same journey and using the same equipment. Both lenses do a superb job not only on the D700 but even on the D800.

A project that I printed during 2011 & 2012 was more that 90% from images shot with the D200, D300, D2x with a few odd frames the D100 and from film scans. Print sizes were predominately 36x24 and larger. With good lenses and good craft, it's common for me to get good results and larger prints from these relative small files. Luckily, I don't follow the rules when it comes to megapixel counts and am always trying to see how far I can push the limits of good photography.

I've had the D700 about five years and it's been to Europe three times and all over the US. No problems with durability and I don't baby it. Until I managed to "bounce" my 17-35mm a few years ago and again early last year (both on pavement), there were no issues with the durability of the lens.  Since it got rebuilt (twice last year), I should be able to get another 10-12 years of use from it or until the D900 comes out with its 14-280 f/2 zoom custom designed for the 125MB, 20-stop range to ISO 325,000 chip.:-J

Though made for film and the original Nikon D1, the 17-35 still makes it today and with the 24-120mm, makes a good pair for at least me in landscape and documentary photography.
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Larry Angier
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Eric Brody
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« Reply #11 on: October 07, 2013, 02:47:18 PM »
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I'm not sure you want a "quick" guide. These decisions take time and care. Lenses outlive camera bodies. I'd suggest starting Nikon's website, with its biases, or the B&H website, a treasure of information from lens weight, prices, filter size, on down. Lloyd Chambers is also helpful, but to get the good stuff you have to pay, reasonable amounts, but not free. Spend some time, tell us what you plan to do and how much you want to spend. There's lots of information here and elsewhere. Good luck.
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Justinr
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« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2013, 11:20:01 AM »
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I'm not sure you want a "quick" guide. These decisions take time and care. Lenses outlive camera bodies. I'd suggest starting Nikon's website, with its biases, or the B&H website, a treasure of information from lens weight, prices, filter size, on down. Lloyd Chambers is also helpful, but to get the good stuff you have to pay, reasonable amounts, but not free. Spend some time, tell us what you plan to do and how much you want to spend. There's lots of information here and elsewhere. Good luck.

Sound advice and there is no particular hurry as I want to shift a load of stuff via ebay first and that does not happen overnight. The trouble is that Pentax have just announced their K3 which means there will be K5's choking the sales sites and it is one of those that I want to move on. Mind you, I can't see that there is any great advantage in trading up but that's a subject for another thread.

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Justinr
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« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2013, 05:17:45 PM »
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Hi Justinr,

Most of my website is taken with the D700/D3/D3s, especially the past two years. All my work in Mallorca, Serbia, Greece from 2012 is with a D800 and D700 and with the 17-35, 24-120, 70-300 (fewer photos) and with the 8mm and 15mm Sigma fisheye lenses.

Probably the best place to look at the IQ with those two bodies and the two short Nikkors is at this link: http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk

Most of the interior photos were pushing the limits of ISO and DR with my skills to get the photos. However, one's results will vary depending upon experience in the craft of photography. The image of the anointing of the nun's forehead <http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/I0000XiVwocP_bF8/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk> was taken with the D700 and shot with the 24-120 then copped to tighten up the composition. An example of the 17-35, though on the D800 is this one in the same gallery <http://angier-fox.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Milesiva-Monastery-Serbia/G0000Q5lRuzmmcjk/I0000FrFf_KdTW50/C0000zk29GqsQ2Sk> The entire series in that gallery is with either body and mainly those two lenses.

Above my desk here in my studio is a 30x20 print from the Anointing--taken with the D700/24-120. The others in the background were also taken on the same journey and using the same equipment. Both lenses do a superb job not only on the D700 but even on the D800.

A project that I printed during 2011 & 2012 was more that 90% from images shot with the D200, D300, D2x with a few odd frames the D100 and from film scans. Print sizes were predominately 36x24 and larger. With good lenses and good craft, it's common for me to get good results and larger prints from these relative small files. Luckily, I don't follow the rules when it comes to megapixel counts and am always trying to see how far I can push the limits of good photography.

I've had the D700 about five years and it's been to Europe three times and all over the US. No problems with durability and I don't baby it. Until I managed to "bounce" my 17-35mm a few years ago and again early last year (both on pavement), there were no issues with the durability of the lens.  Since it got rebuilt (twice last year), I should be able to get another 10-12 years of use from it or until the D900 comes out with its 14-280 f/2 zoom custom designed for the 125MB, 20-stop range to ISO 325,000 chip.:-J

Though made for film and the original Nikon D1, the 17-35 still makes it today and with the 24-120mm, makes a good pair for at least me in landscape and documentary photography.

I hear what you say about good photographic craft. Getting the file right to begin with rather than messing about after the event in PS is something I always aspire to, not always as successfully as one would like but at least the ambition is present.  Smiley

From what I can gather the D600 has had a few teething problems so I'm still thinking of the D700 with perhaps the 24-120 to kick off with. It will be accumulation of lenses as required rather than an initial buying spree so that sort of zoom sounds a good place to start. It has to be compact and solid and as a previous poster pointed out, not suffer from file bloat (I love that term), I know the quality setting can be adjusted to reduce JPEG size but the temptation is to always use what you have. I'm having to fall back on the K10 (10.2mp) as standby for a job later this week which worried me until I remembered that I used to do all sorts of events with it and sold a good few A4 prints with never a suggestion of lack of resolution unless severely cropped.

Many thanks for the advice.



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langier
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« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2013, 08:40:11 PM »
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Unless you can ace every exposure and the contrast keeps within the dynamic range of the chip, etc., shoot raw and forget the jpeg. Jpeg is fine for a terminal file heading to a client or onto the web, but to allow the camera as programed by a person working in a cubical to determine which 95% of the image to get thrown away is beyond me. I want all the info to make that choice back in my studio on how to process the image.

I just went through some of my work from Serbia a few years ago. It was originally process through Photoshop 4.x and ACR from a few generations ago.

When I reprocessed the files using the current ACR and its noise reduction, I was able to get much better photos from the original captures. Had I shot everything in jpeg just to save space, I'd be stuck with what the camera gave me with little left to work the image better. What you shoot in jpeg is what you get, including both compression and sharpening artifacts. Better to simply use the NEF 12-bit compressed than to shoot even high-quality jpeg unless you can control all the light and then ace the color and exposure.

Sure, even with raw you've got to make it a point to get things in the ball part with the exposure, color balance, etc. but think of it this way, a jpeg file is like Kodachrome, if you ace it it's fine. With NEF (raw), you've got a color negative that you can process today and as the software improves, go back to that same negative and reprocess it with newer/better tools. This comes in quite handy, IMO.

Though the D800 does crete quite a bit of file bloat shooting day to day, on crop mode (1.3x and 1.5x-DX modes), the raw files are smaller and either one gets me higher res than my daily shooters. That makes the D800 on a par with the D7000 with its 16MP (nearly the same resolution of the D800 at 1.5x) and the D7100 with its 24MP. The D800 shoots 24mp at 1.3x. In any case, the files are still larger than any of my daily shooters. It's like a built in TC almost.

With cards and hard drives being so large and cheap today, there's little reason to shoot jpeg or worry too much about file bloat in the overall scheme of things. My career in digital began back in the days of floppies, a big computer had 512K of ram and a hard drive was humungous at 3 MB and the size of a VCR (if you can remember what a VCR is;-).

Realistically most of my money files are in the range of 10-12 MP captures and everything larger is mainly gravy, getting me more detail for the final image. Better to have more to start then to make a silk purse from a sow's ear from a dinky file like I've got to do for my print clients at times.
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Larry Angier
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« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2013, 10:36:08 PM »
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The DxO guide to the best lenses for the D800 is the article to read.
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BenMm
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2013, 01:57:44 PM »
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You have had a lot of replies on what to buy but maybe you want to know what NOT to buy.  Attached is a page from the D800 manual listing Nikon lenses that cannot be used.  It should be the same list for the D700.  Considering how many different lenses Nikon has produced over the years the list is incredibly short.
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2013, 02:29:40 PM »
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http://www.dslrbodies.com/lenses/lens-databases-for-nikon/ gives a reasonably reliable rundown of lenses for the F mount.
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Justinr
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2013, 03:55:39 AM »
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I'm not sure you want a "quick" guide. These decisions take time and care. Lenses outlive camera bodies. I'd suggest starting Nikon's website, with its biases, or the B&H website, a treasure of information from lens weight, prices, filter size, on down. Lloyd Chambers is also helpful, but to get the good stuff you have to pay, reasonable amounts, but not free. Spend some time, tell us what you plan to do and how much you want to spend. There's lots of information here and elsewhere. Good luck.

Some examples of the sort of thing I'll be doing attached. These were taken in Italy over the last couple of days on the back up K10 as the K5 was in for repair. Looking at them closely they are not a patch on what's available from the big two nowdays so moving on is something of a necessity. BTW, the budget may well extend to an 800 after all.
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2013, 04:43:45 AM »
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Looking at them closely they are not a patch on what's available from the big two nowdays so moving on is something of a necessity. BTW, the budget may well extend to an 800 after all.

The only obvious benefit of a D800, visible from those examples, relates to its high dynamic range.  Otherwise what you've indicated about your needs as you currently understand them does not indicate any significance to moving away from the cameras you now have.

That said, let me encourage you to take the leap, but then my suggestion is to make every effort at taking advantage of the potential rather than dwelling on what you've done in the past.  The huge pixel count of the D800 allows cropping.  And that brings up a conceptual philosophy in regard to shooting in RAW mode, ignoring the JPEG other than for previewing, and purposely maximizing the amount of post processing.

While I said "maximizing" post processing, realize that is only valid in conjunction with a "get it right in the camera" style where "right" means producing data that best allows post processing to get the desired results.  The right choice of perspective is important (that is the place where you plant  your feet), and only then comes framing (which is done by choosing the proper focal length lens), and then comes using ETTR or some modification of it to collect data over the best possible dynamic range to allow producing the image you want.

And that image is generated with post processing.  There simply is no way to get it right by trying to pre-configure the JPEG engine in the camera.

From what you've said it appears you may be on the edge of a leap into the art of photography beyond what you currently imagine it holds for you!  GO FOR IT!
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