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Need a Nikon DSLR (not an idiot, I promise)

  1. Sep 29, 2011 #1
    Hi there,

    Back in the day (10 years ago) I used to be really good at photography, however the hobby died out since I was in high school, my film budget was slim to none. Here we are ten years later, and I'm thinking of getting another camera: A DSLR.

    I like Nikon, so I want to stick with them. Furthermore, all nikon lenses are reverse compatible, which is certainly a plus. However, my understanding is that the actual sensor for DSLRs is smaller than the film variant, so if I were to stick a film-nikon lens and stick it onto a DSLR-lens, I would imagine that there would be cropping (eg since the CMOS is smaller than 35mm, the lens, which was originally designed for 35mm, will "over project" the sensor, losing data. How much of an issue is this?

    Also, I want a professional level DSLR, on the lower end. A main reason is that the intro and intermediate models seem to be make of plastic and are very light, whereas I want something heavier and more rugged. I know some professional Nikons have some magnesium-alloy, but I wasn't sure at what level this applies, and how rugged this composite really is.

    I also don't care about the bells and whistles lots of these cameras come with. In my day with the Nikon F, all I needed was control of the aperture, shutter speed, focusing, and ISO. This is really all I need, I was able to take fantastic pictures. Perhaps I can start messing with white-balance stuff later, but typically (in still-life photography) I turn off the auto focus in lieu of doing it manually, since I know what to be in focus and the camera doesn't.

    It's also important that these options are easily available (aperature, shutter speed, focusing ring, ISO/ASA, not burried so I have to push and hold down 9 buttons to get to the setting I want. Capiche?

    I'm also capped at around $1000. I am thinking of getting the Nikon D2X. Thoughts?

    Thanks so much guys,

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2011 #2
    Sure, the D2X is fine, but also 7 years old tecnology and no not everything with Nikon lenses is backwards compatible. The newer lower end bodies don't have an built-in focus drive motor which means it can auto focus only with lenses which have their own drive motor (AF-S and AF-I lenses). So if you happen to own glass like Nikkor G or D AF types without build in autofocus motor, you'd have to focus manually. I think this is not a problem for the high end but old D2X. But this would the case if you would go for something like a modern D5100.

    But maybe just peek at the advance in image quality in seven years, comparing the full size crops of studio shots here and here

    Left D2X crops, right D5100 crops both at jpg at ISO 100


    There was not a lot better to compare than this for high ISO, both at ISO 3200:


    So it seems that image quality is the trade off for going conservatively traditional.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2011
  4. Sep 29, 2011 #3
    It's generally referred to as the "magnification ratio", or "focal length multiplier". I believe the D2X is about 1.5 - 1.6.

    It's mainly an issue with wide-angle lenses -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crop_factor" [Broken] describes it pretty well:
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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