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Need Some Info for Friend - Nikon Only!

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by twokatmew, Jun 21, 2015.

  1. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    I have a friend who taught photography and used Nikon film cameras years ago. I know she had a Nikon F (perhaps other mounts as well) at one point. After many years, she wants to get back into photography, particularly digital. I've tried to sell her on MFT, as she can use her old lenses via adapters. She wants to stay with Nikon and has a tight budget, though I don't know dollar amount.

    I do know that she looked at Nikon 3200/3300 at Best Buy and was unhappy with the price. So ... I'm trying to put some info together for her so she can look into refurbished and/or clean used gear. Is there a Nikon forum out there that's friendly and helpful like this one and Pentax Forums (my old haunt before I switched to MFT)? I don't want her first venture back into photography to be DPReview.

    Advice much appreciated. Thx! :)

    Edit: I've found Nikon Forums and Nikonites but don't know what the climate's like.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
  2. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    NikonCafe.com

    I would assume the older lenses would be pre AF-S? (build into the lens focus motor?) AF-D lenses used a screw drive in the body to drive the AF of the lens. If so and she wants them to auto focus then she can discount all the D3#00 / D5#00 / D40 / D60. Her options for something that will AF with pre AF-S auto focus lenses are: D100 / D200 / D300(s) / D50 / D70 / D80 / D90 / Fuji S5 Pro (I think that's all other than FX and built in grip options).

    Ones I would consider: D300 / Fuji S5 Pro / maybe a D200 or D90. D300 is the best option, Fuji has great OOC jpegs and dynamic range ahead of it's time. D200 and D90 are the lowest I MIGHT look at, but they would have to be a real bargain. The D300s added a few things, but non that I can remember being worth paying extra for. D100 / D80 / D70(s) / D50 were good for their time but it has long pasted, I'd buy an E-PL6 with kit lens long before I'd buy any of these. I have shot with every one of the bodies listed above that will AF with AF-D (pre AF-D lenses) except the D300s. I think the only ones I haven't owned at one point or another were the D100, D70s, and D50.

    If they are full manual but will provide meter information, well that's not something I really ever looked at. Hope that helps.
     
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  3. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Wow, thanks David. That helps a lot! :)

    Oh, forgot to mention that a viewfinder is a must. I was thinking about some of the older Lumix G and GH models.
     
  4. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    As per Davids comment - its really only the pro & pro-am type Nikon cameras that will drive the older AF lenses. In addition (slightly infuriating too), on manual lenses there is also a small subset of cameras that will meter with manual lenses. There is also the old AI/non-AI mount chestnut too (probably a non-issue but the older film-bodies had a flip up tab for the older non-AI lenses).

    Having used a number of manual Nikon film bodies, I found the leap in size/weight going to a D700 to be substantial after using m43's cameras (granted, the D700 is likely to be much more robust).

    An older G or GH may be ideal - nice compact body, pick up a nice kit lens and adapters for the old Nikon glass. Focus peaking (newer bodies only) and focus-zoom capability (almost all bodies - just comes down to ergonomics and EVF quality) might be additional considerations.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    Things I should add about the Fuji S5 Pro. While it was one of my favorite cameras, it's not without it's quirks.

    First, it's a Nikon D200 body and looks like it would take the same batteries, but no it will not work with standard Nikon batteries. Processing the RAW files? Not really a problem any more, but when it was introduced it had similar issues like x-tran, as in not 100% supported by all RAW converters. And while Fuji said it's a 12.1MP sensor, it's not really. And it was a bit slower than my D200 that I had at the time.

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/FujifilmS5Pro

    But color, dynamic range, and auto white balance were truly great.
     
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  6. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Thank you both. This is all really useful info. Phigmov, can you tell me off the top of your head what's the oldest G/GH bodies that have focus peaking?
     
  7. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Hi Margaret,

    A couple of thoughts. First, I have been a member of Nikonians for about 7 or eight years now. They are very polite and helpful, and DPR behavior is not tolerated. It is a bit gentlemanly there, and I suspect that the average age and income are more north than many forums, but the advice is almost always spot on, albeit sometimes the recommendations can be expensive. Their buy/sell forum used to be fantastic (and may still be but I have not bought anything recently) and I have done several deals on an "electronic" handshake (i.e. merchandise and cashier's check were mailed at the same time).

    Keep in mind that manual focusing with a newer Nikon body is a bit challenging as they do not have split image screens, and the green confirmation dot is not always highly accurate. If I was to recommend a past Nikon body for old glass on a budget, it would be the D300/300s. It was a workhorse body, and I ma sure they can be had for a reasonable price today. I still have mine even though I am also shooting with a FF body. It has served me well, and I just cannot seem to part with it.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
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  8. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    There are replacement screens that do provide the split image. KatzEye was one, but they seem to have closed, but I'm sure there are others.
     
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  9. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    It was my understanding that if you replace a screen in a modern DSLR, that it may need to be adjusted/calibrated, and I am not sure of that is correct, and if so, what it entails. It does not sound nearly as easy as the original F bodies where you just pulled and replaced in a matter of minutes.

    --Ken
     
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  10. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    789
    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Richard
    I had a D200 for several years before moving to a D700. It's a nice camera and available secondhand for very little. No dust cleaning, so you need to get comfortable with swabs, and it's noisy at high isos, but produces great files at lower isos. Works with manual AI lens and AF-D quite happily (metering and AF).
     
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  11. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    I haven't got anything newer than a G3 unfortunately. Some googling indicates focus peaking seems to have come in on the newer G6/GH4/GM1/GX7 bodies.

    The online demos seem to indicate its a very subtle edge-detection line - better than nothing but it may not be any better than being able to manually zoom in on an older body. I guess focus-peaking is one less button to mess around with once its enabled.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    First, let me say that if the budget was so tight that a used D3200 didn't really fit in, it's going to be really difficult to find something worthwhile.

    All good tips around already, but I think the D300(x/s)/D700 route will be about as expensive as the D3***/D5*** route, if not more so because those bodies are still not replaceable for some.

    But I know for a fact that the D90 is still a very capable camera that can be had quite cheap. So that's the route I'd take. As has been said, the D3*** and D5*** bodies make using older lenses either difficult or at least not fun. Of course, if in your corner of the woods the D300 and D700 are budget-friendly, they're worth it for sure. Just beware of the D700's size and weight when recommending it - the body is very robust, but also very heavy for a prosumer camera.

    That said, D7000 was one hell of a good camera and can be found quite cheap because of the release of the D7100 and D7200 in recent years. Maybe that's something to look at. The sensor is legendary - I wish they'd still make it (a DX Df? only joking - I've gone over to mFT for good as far as this niche is concerned).

    Back to the D90: It's fairly small and light, closer to a consumer grade film SLR than a F4/5/6 - if she comes from an F3 or FM*/FE*, that's a definite plus. It's got the tech of the D300s under that hood mostly, with a few added features even. As for the system costs, there's a nifty fifty (the 35mm f/1.8 DX) that won't break the bank and is really good for its price.

    Crucially, the focus dot on this older, simpler system is quite accurate - when used with the center field, that is. So it's focus and recompose ... but the 12MP sensor is more forgiving than others when it comes to sharpness distribution. Also, it's quite forgiving if you're used to stopping down (dispersion sets in at f/8 or higher and won't become a burden under f/11 - try that on a modern mirrorless body - or newer DX body, for the matter).

    I still own that camera/lens combo and use it occasionally because its performance and IQ are still competitive plus I have the 35mm and a competent zoom (16-85mm) I don't have an equivalent for on mFT. It's also fantastic for flash photography (you can use the whole Nikon system).

    M.
     
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  13. ManofKent

    ManofKent Hopefully still learning

    789
    Dec 26, 2014
    Faversham, Kent, UK
    Richard
    The D90 is a nice camera but if she owns or is interested in manual focus Nikkors be aware that she won't have any metering. Why Nikon restricted this function to the D*00 and D* series I don't know...
     
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  14. davidzvi

    davidzvi Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 12, 2012
    Outside Boston MA
    David
    How did I miss the whole D7#00 line.:doh:

    The D7100 and D7200 are out of the price range for sure. But the D7000 might be and is worth a look. It would be on my list ahead of the Fuji, but below the D300. Thinking about it some more I might also move the Fuji down into D200 / D90, worth considering but the battery issue might make it difficult. For me the Fuji just has a found place in my memory.

    Conversely I really did not enjoy using my D90 at all. It was possibly my least favorite even thought I know (intellectually) it's a fine camera and it should surely be on the list for consideration. Funny how personal and probably irrational experience clouds our recommendations, I usually try to filter that out better. :oops: I will disagree though with calling the D90 a D300 mostly under the hood. It's much more like the E-M10 to E-M5 mII, same sensor and image processor (I believe). But build, AF system, shutter speed, sync speed, exposure & WB metering, ...... even the shutter life expectancy rating. Or more of the good bits under the hood from the D3 & D700 than the D90.
     
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  15. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I would recommend looking at KEH.com and see what they have used in digital bodies. They rate them accurately and have a 6 month warranty on all they sell.

    Anything from a D50 through a D300 should be pretty reasonable price, although being turned off by the price of a D3200 doesn't leave much room. I used to own a D50 and it is a great little DSLR, high ISO falls apart at 1600, but still a great performer. I think they have them for $100-$150 ish USD. If they want to spend more - a D200 is going to be the next best price conscious option.

    The D50 has only one control wheel, while the D200 has 2.
     
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  16. bassman

    bassman Mu-43 Top Veteran

    678
    Apr 22, 2013
    New Jersey
    Scott
    The best Nikon oriented site is Nikonians. Lots of extremely friendly and knowledgable people.
     
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  17. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran

    628
    Oct 25, 2014
    Switzerland
    Matt
    Just tested this - you're absolutely right - duh ... I hadn't thought about this (I have used lots of old AF and AF-D lenses with it, but never an AI or AI-S lens until now). So, I think in spite of my own preferences we should remove the D90 from the list of recommendations if the OP's friend wants to use manual lenses.

    M.
     
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  18. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Yes, thanks! KEH is first on my list, though the used depts. at B&H and Adorama are there too. :)
     
  19. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Thank you all! Really great info here. :) Fortunately I have two E-M10s, so I plan to loan her one and go out shooting with her. I recall being quite confounded by the crop factor issue, and I dug up a fantastic article on the subject. It sure sounds like a mirrorless body is the way to go, but I wanted to see what might be available in Nikonland. ;) In the meantime, she can use an E-M10 with native lenses and get a feel for the digital world. Again, thanks so much!! :)
     
  20. twokatmew

    twokatmew Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 1, 2012
    Lansing, MI, US
    Margaret
    Phigmov, that's a great YouTube video. Thanks for sharing it! :)