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Primes and digital
Old 03-01-2017   #1
Pfreddee
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Primes and digital

How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses. Zooms are OK for some things, but the usual caveats about zooms apply. I like my Nikon, but the fact that I can't find a classic trio (24-50-85) of primes is causing me to think long and hard about ditching DX and moving to FX for just this reason, even though DX is fine in other respects.

Thank you for your time.

With best regards,

Pfreddee
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Old 03-01-2017   #2
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I shoot mostly primes on my Nikon bodies, body DX and FX. The FX body is easy, there's a lot out there for not much money. The DX body is more difficult, I have 24 and 28 and 35 and 50mm lenses, which covers the 35mm to 85mm equivalent end of the spectrum. All of these are older prime lenses from the 70s and 80s, didn't cost much. The 50 1.4 isn't even AI, but fits my D80 just fine. I just have to live with the fact that Nikon doesn't meter manual lenses on these bodies.

Getting wider costs money. I know there's a 19mm Vivitar out there for not too much money, which would be a bit wide on DX. So it really depends on where you want to spend your money. Buy an FX camera and put any AI Nikon F compatible lens on it, or spend the same on two or three nice DX lenses. Over time, the nice lenses would hold much of their value, but on the other hand there's no substitute for the image quality from an FX, especially compared to a DX with a few years on it.
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Old 03-01-2017   #3
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I primarily shoot FX primes on my D800e and DX zooms on my D500 (DX). Yes, I can use my FX prime lenses on my D500, but I rarely ever do. I think it's because I use my D500 mainly for moving subjects where zoom and reach and fast AF are very helpful (e.g., sports and birds in flight).

If you do purchase a Nikon FX body, and intend to get 3 primes (24-50-85), I would highly recommend the Sigma ART lenses.I have the 24, 35 and 50, and they (especially the 35) are easily my best lenses in a variety of measures. I have shot a borrowed Sigma ART 85mm as well, and will likely purchase one in the future to replace my current Nikon 85/1.8 AFS lens. The're not cheap, but IMHO, well worth the price.
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Old 03-01-2017   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses. Zooms are OK for some things, but the usual caveats about zooms apply. I like my Nikon, but the fact that I can't find a classic trio (24-50-85) of primes is causing me to think long and hard about ditching DX and moving to FX for just this reason, even though DX is fine in other respects.

Thank you for your time.

With best regards,

Pfreddee
I can't believe that Nikon don't make a few wide angle DX primes. A 16/2.8 and a 24/1.8 would be nice and compact and coupled with the 35/1.8 would give you a neat 24-35-50 DX prime options. Once you get longer you lose the size advantage, so best to use the FX/1.8 primes from 50mm up.

When I shot Nikon DX it was the one thing that always bugged me. Like many people I didn't want the bulk of FX so I moved away from Nikon after I gave up waiting. I ended up with a Leica, but if the Fuji's were around, then I might have gone that way. If I ever get back into a DSLR again, it won't be with FX, it will be an APSC size sensor, and if Nikon haven't filled some DX lens holes, then it won't be them.
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Old 03-01-2017   #5
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Just use the FX Nikon lenses. They all work perfectly on both FX and DX bodies. Nikon knows most users will eventually go to a FX body so why should they have to build a whole other lens kit just for the DX bodies?

Honestly, if you really want ultrawide, you're better off with the larger format. It's easier to design and build wide lenses for the larger format bodies in the first place.

G

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How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. ...
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Old 03-01-2017   #6
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Just use the FX Nikon lenses. They all work perfectly on both FX and DX bodies. Nikon knows most users will eventually go to a FX body so why should they have to build a whole other lens kit just for the DX bodies?
Nikon wants all users to move up to an FX body. The thing is, many don't. They either don't buy the lenses that aren't available (thus confirming Nikon's decision not to make them), or they switch to a different system.

If they assume all users move to FX, what's with the D500? Surely if you want speed you should get a D5. If you want reach buy a longer lens or crop (which is essentially what "crop" sensors do).
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Old 03-01-2017   #7
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D600 with a 50mm and 85mm. Mostly use the 85
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Old 03-01-2017   #8
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The lens I use most with my EOS 6D is the EF 40/2.8 pancake, and the lens I use the most with my EOS SL1 is the EF-S 24/2.8 pancake. If Nikon offered a compact wide or semi-wide prime like the EF-S 24 that was fully functional on the D3xxx and D5xxx cameras I would have bought one for my D3200 and been done with it. But they don't, which led me to the SL1 and the 24 pancake.
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Old 03-01-2017   #9
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Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Just use the FX Nikon lenses. They all work perfectly on both FX and DX bodies.
But they're way oversized for DX. For those of us who buy APS-C because we want a compact DSLR, the size (and price!) of the 24/1.8 Nikkor mounted on one of the D3xxx or D5xxx bodies is absurd compared to the SL1 + EF-S 24 combination I bought instead.

That silly little $149 pancake has probably sold a bunch of camera bodies for Canon.
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Old 03-01-2017   #10
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The OP's post describes my situation exactly. I left Nikon a little over a year ago and moved to Fuji because they have a wonderful set of dedicated primes.
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Old 03-01-2017   #11
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Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
... the fact that I can't find a classic trio (24-50-85) of primes is causing me to think long and hard about ditching DX ...
When I shot Nikon 35mm SLR, my classic trio was 24mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.8 manual focus lenses.

When I started shooting digital, I wanted to use my FX primes on a full-frame digital SLR but at the time, Nikon took the stand that they would never make full-frame digital cameras.

I tried to duplicate the angle-of-view of my classic trio by using 14mm f/2.8, 24mm f/2, and 50mm f/1.4 FX lenses on a DX digital body but had problems manually focusing the FX lenses on the smaller DX pentaprism.

To solve my manual focusing problem, I used the following auto focus zoom lenses:
14-24mm f/2.8
28-70mm f/2.8
70-200mm f/2.8

The auto focus zooms helped with the focusing problem but there were times when I still needed to use faster prime lenses. I finally decided to ditch any thoughts of an FX digital SLR and instead decided to use only APS-C digital cameras. I also decided to stop waiting on Nikon to produce the equipment I needed. I selected three fast auto focus Fujinon prime lenses to use on a Fuji X APS-C mirrorless body:
16mm f/1.4
23mm f/1.4
56mm f/1.2


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Old 03-02-2017   #12
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That was one of the reasons for my Df.
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Old 03-02-2017   #13
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Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
Nikon wants all users to move up to an FX body. The thing is, many don't.
... \
Very true. I certainly did.

But a few years later I sold all my Nikon FX bodies and lenses and switched to Fujifilm. I don't miss FX at all.
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Old 03-02-2017   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
I can't believe that Nikon don't make a few wide angle DX primes. A 16/2.8 and a 24/1.8 would be nice . . .

When I shot Nikon DX it was the one thing that always bugged me.
That bugged me too when I had only the D300. I have come to see 24mm, or a 24mm equivalent, as essential. In fact, I bought the 15/3.5 Nikkor just to get as close to 24mm as I could. And I used an 18mm Nikkor the get close to a 28mm view. I still have these lenses, but now use them on my D700, where they belong!
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Old 03-02-2017   #15
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Canon has plenty of primes for FF (EF) and crop (EF-S) DSLRs. The only lens I use at my DSLR is EF-S mount prime. Prior to this I used Canon FF with 50mm L series prime. One of the three 50mm Canon makes in EF mount.
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Old 03-02-2017   #16
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That was one of the reasons for my Df.
Dear Kent,

Same here. Overwhelmingly, the 55/2.8 Micro Nikkor. But also others from 14mm to 600mm...

You'll find some Df zoom shots here (35-85/2.8 Vivitar Series 1 Varifocal) but the previous two pieces in the same series (Misty Day and Sunny Day) I used the Micro Nikkor.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 03-02-2017   #17
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Just use the FX Nikon lenses. They all work perfectly on both FX and DX bodies. Nikon knows most users will eventually go to a FX body so why should they have to build a whole other lens kit just for the DX bodies?G
A very dangerous statement to make for those looking at older FX lenses for use on their cheaper DX cameras.

Lower-end Nikon D3xxx and D5xxx cameras don't have the AF screw on the body. Therefore AF-D lenses will NOT have autofocus. And of course if you are defining "FX" lenses as just "full-frame," older AIS, AI, or pre-AI will not meter.

Users unfamiliar with the nomenclature and looking for a deal on used gear can very easily run into this problem. In fact, AF-D lenses (and even some AIS) lenses are still sold new today. It is not that cut-and-dry unfortunately - but hey, at least we can actually mount old Nikon lenses, unlike those with FD mount glass...
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Old 03-02-2017   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses. Zooms are OK for some things, but the usual caveats about zooms apply. I like my Nikon, but the fact that I can't find a classic trio (24-50-85) of primes is causing me to think long and hard about ditching DX and moving to FX for just this reason, even though DX is fine in other respects.

Thank you for your time.

With best regards,

Pfreddee
Don't ditch DX - ditch Nikon. Fuji has what you need.
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Old 03-02-2017   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses.
Sigma? The Sigma 30mm f/1.4 DC HSM Art Lens for Nikon looks nice. But I get your point. I guess Nikon thinks zooms are good enough for these users.
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Old 03-02-2017   #20
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Originally Posted by Ko.Fe. View Post
Canon has plenty of primes for FF (EF) and crop (EF-S) DSLRs.

just counted two crop primes made by Canon for their DSLR's. EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM and EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM.
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Old 03-02-2017   #21
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I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses.
The one being the 35/f1.8 I believe?

If I'm not mistaken, Nikon makes 20mm, 24mm and 28mm AFS primes. Are they usable on your camera?

I have 20 and 28mm old-style AF Nikkors which I use on my DX bodies but I realize they won't autofocus with all cameras. But they're terrific performers and tiny and light. I'm happy.
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Old 03-02-2017   #22
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Well, despite your protestations, it's my considered opinion that Nikon never wanted to make DX cameras and lenses in the first place. They did so because for a long time it was the only way to make a DSLR at a consumer saleable price point, and they continue to do so for the similar reason that there are people who want the smaller, less expensive bodies. This is my opinion, and it's one I've held since 2003 when the first reasonably accessible price DSLRs first appeared.

There is a place even in an FX system for a DX body too ... speed, more reach with a telephoto, etc. DX and other small format cameras are really best at telephoto use because they net more DoF at a given f/number.

If I were shooting with Nikon gear, I'd buy an FX body and FX lenses only. They're what Nikon wants to make.

If you want APS-C compactness, Fuji and Pentax do a better job of it. The whole reason to buy Nikon lens mount is to have access to Nikon's lenses, so if they don't make the lenses for what you want, why go there?

G
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Old 03-02-2017   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
Well, despite your protestations, it's my considered opinion that Nikon never wanted to make DX cameras and lenses in the first place. They did so because for a long time it was the only way to make a DSLR at a consumer saleable price point, and they continue to do so for the similar reason that there are people who want the smaller, less expensive bodies. This is my opinion, and it's one I've held since 2003 when the first reasonably accessible price DSLRs first appeared.

There is a place even in an FX system for a DX body too ... speed, more reach with a telephoto, etc. DX and other small format cameras are really best at telephoto use because they net more DoF at a given f/number.

If I were shooting with Nikon gear, I'd buy an FX body and FX lenses only. They're what Nikon wants to make.

If you want APS-C compactness, Fuji and Pentax do a better job of it. The whole reason to buy Nikon lens mount is to have access to Nikon's lenses, so if they don't make the lenses for what you want, why go there?

G
You hit the nail on the head, but it doesn't mean that it's the best (or even a good) strategy. Times move on, new competitors arrive, and you either react, or you don't. You say "we make really good lenses, let's add two more DX lenses for folks that have a D7xxx so they don't buy a Fuji" or you say "we will make what we want, not what the customer wants, take it or leave it". Nikon had the choice, and we know what they're saying and many people chose to leave it.

The thing is that Canon is not making any better "DX" lenses, and Pentax, while I'm sure is a great camera, just don't have the visibility. I don't think I've ever seen a digital Pentax in real life.
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Old 03-02-2017   #24
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You hit the nail on the head, but it doesn't mean that it's the best (or even a good) strategy. ...
Without wanting to sound dismissive, I don't care what some company's strategy might be, good or bad. It's their job to figure out how to make and sell equipment at a profit, whatever that means to them. I just care what equipment they're making, for my uses, and if they're not making what I want or need ... well, there are plenty of other choices in the marketplace.

I vote with my wallet.

G
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Old 03-03-2017   #25
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I use a DX Nikon for web photos and agree that Nikon probably didn't jump in with both feet with regards to supporting APS-C cameras.

Nearly all of current Nikon's DX line up will not auto focus any of the older AF-D primes, of which there is an abundance in the second hand market.. That's a shame, because using a lens designed for FF 35mm on APS-C body mitigates some of the vignetting issues and resolution issues towards the corners when shooting with the aperture wide open. This one time that the APS-C crop factor is a plus not a minus. Also, the primes are nice when an extra stop or two are needed.

To my knowledge, only the ancient D50, D70, D80, D90, D200, D300 and the current D500 have a focusing motor built into the camera body, which is need to fully support an AF-D lens. Since the release of the D90, the only Nikon APS-C camera that will auto focus with an AF-D lens is the current D500.

The above situation may have been good for selling a new line of lenses with built-in focusing motors, but the roll out of a full spectrum of AF-G primes to replace their AF-D predecessors has been slow.

While Canon kept busy updating their DX offerings - Nikon took their sweet time to replace the D300 with a D500.
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Old 03-03-2017   #26
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To my knowledge, only the ancient D50, D70, D80, D90, D200, D300 and the current D500 have a focusing motor built into the camera body, which is need to fully support an AF-D lens. Since the release of the D90, the only Nikon APS-C camera that will auto focus with an AF-D lens is the current D500.
That's not correct. The D7xxx-series cameras, which are the successors to the D50/70/80/90 series, also support the old screw-drive lenses.

I've used older screw-drive AF primes as manual focus lenses on the D60 and D3200 cameras, with the "electronic rangefinder" in the viewfinder. I eventually gave up on that - it's slow, fiddly and not always accurate, and between speed and accuracy problems I was losing too many pictures that I would have gotten with an AF lens.
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Old 03-03-2017   #27
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Originally Posted by Pfreddee View Post
How many of you who shoot a DSLR full-frame use primes as your main lens choice? I prefer primes, but my DX Nikon has only one dedicated prime lens made for it. If I want to use other focal lengths I need to use FX lenses. Zooms are OK for some things, but the usual caveats about zooms apply. I like my Nikon, but the fact that I can't find a classic trio (24-50-85) of primes is causing me to think long and hard about ditching DX and moving to FX for just this reason, even though DX is fine in other respects.

Thank you for your time.

With best regards,

Pfreddee
Just relax and have a little patience. Nikon has just released the D500.
The next step in the coming years will be Nikon DX primes. And Sigma will certainly also extend their range of APS-C prime lenses.

Adding a Nikon FX DSLR to your set-up nevertheless won't hurt you at all .
Can also wonderfully supplement a nice Nikon 35mm film SLR.
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Old 03-03-2017   #28
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Old 03-03-2017   #29
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That's not correct. The D7xxx-series cameras, which are the successors to the D50/70/80/90 series, also support the old screw-drive lenses.
That's good to know. Nikon still makes a consumer grade DSLR with an internal focus motor to allow the full use of the older AF-D lenses. It my fault on the omission - because I haven't really kept up with any of the D7000 series.

In other news, totally unrelated to this thread, I just purchased a N80 for 20 bucks.
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Old 03-03-2017   #30
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The one being the 35/f1.8 I believe?

If I'm not mistaken, Nikon makes 20mm, 24mm and 28mm AFS primes. Are they usable on your camera?

I have 20 and 28mm old-style AF Nikkors which I use on my DX bodies but I realize they won't autofocus with all cameras. But they're terrific performers and tiny and light. I'm happy.
Nikon makes a series of AF-S Primes. They are big and heavy, but lighter than most of the FX zooms.

http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/lens...m#single-focal
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Old 03-03-2017   #31
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The one being the 35/f1.8 I believe?

If I'm not mistaken, Nikon makes 20mm, 24mm and 28mm AFS primes. Are they usable on your camera?

I have 20 and 28mm old-style AF Nikkors which I use on my DX bodies but I realize they won't autofocus with all cameras. But they're terrific performers and tiny and light. I'm happy.
You're not mistaken. They also make a 1.8/18mm AFS prime. On a DX body this gets you to a whopping 29mm wide angle. the next widest is the massive and expensive (and lacklustre) 2.8/14mm AFS prime, which gets you to 21mm.

But the OP was after the 24-50-85 trio, which you can't get on Nikon DX (or Canon EF-S, or Pentax, or any crop body with an optical VF). You can't even get to 85mm, you're at 75mm using a 50mm or 90mm with a 2.8 macro.
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Old 03-03-2017   #32
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Without wanting to sound dismissive, I don't care what some company's strategy might be, good or bad. It's their job to figure out how to make and sell equipment at a profit, whatever that means to them. I just care what equipment they're making, for my uses, and if they're not making what I want or need ... well, there are plenty of other choices in the marketplace.

I vote with my wallet.

G
You actually do care what their strategy is.

"I just care what equipment they're making"
"if they're not making what I want or need ... there are plenty of other choices"

Here's the rub though. There aren't any choices. What crop sensor DSLR can you get the equivalent set of 24-35-50-85? You of course might say that crop sensors are not for serious use, but then what's the D500 (or the equivalent Canon) doing?

At some point no one makes the product you want or need, despite being so close and having everything else in place. I think you can see how it would be frustrating.
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Old 03-03-2017   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post

But the OP was after the 24-50-85 trio, which you can't get on Nikon DX (or Canon EF-S, or Pentax, or any crop body with an optical VF). You can't even get to 85mm, you're at 75mm using a 50mm or 90mm with a 2.8 macro.
Fuji does. X Pro 1 and X Pro 2 both have an optical VF and the XP2 lets you have optical viewfinder and live view at the same time. 16mm f1.4 is your 24mm FOV, either 35mm (f1.4 or f2) gives you the 50mm FOV and the 56mm 1.2 gives you the 85mm FOV.

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Old 03-03-2017   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shawn View Post
Fuji does. X Pro 1 and X Pro 2 both have an optical VF and the XP2 lets you have optical viewfinder and live view at the same time. 16mm f1.4 is your 24mm FOV, either 35mm (f1.4 or f2) gives you the 50mm FOV and the 56mm 1.2 gives you the 85mm FOV.

Shawn
It's a stretch, as it's not an optical SLR TTL view, but I wasn't that specific

In my opinion, Fuji has a very nice set of lenses. If only Nikon and Canon would follow suit...
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Old 03-03-2017   #35
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I only use primes on my digital... but it's not a full frame, nor is it a DSLR, but rather an Olympus E-M5 (Mirrorless).
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Old 03-03-2017   #36
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What a stupid piece of advice

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Originally Posted by ruby.monkey View Post
Don't ditch DX - ditch Nikon. Fuji has what you need.
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Old 03-03-2017   #37
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24 Ai and 24 AF work well on DX. They do not stretch well to FX.

12/24 with the gold ring is better than decent in DX. 10/24 is plastic junk. 40 2.8 is good lens. My 55 3.5 Ai is spectacular DX or FX

To tell the truth, I have moved on to FX.

Maybe think about Fuji something.
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Old 03-03-2017   #38
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I shoot FF and almost entirely primes, I just don't get along with zooms.

When I use APS-C I just swap those primes over, although I do have the Canon 24mm EF-S Pancake too when I really want a compact kit.
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Old 03-03-2017   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelwj View Post
It's a stretch, as it's not an optical SLR TTL view, but I wasn't that specific

In my opinion, Fuji has a very nice set of lenses. If only Nikon and Canon would follow suit...
True, it is more like a rangefinder (everything always in focus and wider view than the lens) with TTL live view. It is its own thing.

Fuji has *very* nice primes that are dramatically lighter than Nikon's. I had FF Nikon before moving to Fuji.


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Old 03-03-2017   #40
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I shoot 99% of my stuff with primes. I bought a short zoom (35-70mm) for travel, but it's currently in rehab. I've found Zeiss Contax CY mount lenses work great on a Sony A7RII and saved some dough. After dating a number of camera systems, I opted out of that rat race to adopt Zeiss lenses and marry them off to various different cameras that'll get it done with an adaptor or two. If you do the same with either Nikon and Canon, you'll be happy.
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