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No, No, No! Your Gear is ALL Wrong!
Old 07-06-2018   #1
NickTrop
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No, No, No! Your Gear is ALL Wrong!

You are probably shooting the wrong camera. You probably have the wrong lenses too. I'm here t' set youse straight. You're welcome.

1. You should not be shooting 35mm film. FF digital has eclipsed it for around the last eight years or so. Shoot it only if you like old cameras for nostalgia and because you can buy them cheap (see "obsolete"). Or? If you like making wet prints, which is laborious but it's a phase we all go through.

2. No APS-C. No small sensors. No 1" sensors. They're all rubbish no matter what kind of fancy body they put them in. I don't care if it's got a red dot or whatever. Full frame only. You're better off with an old FF camera that is short a few MP than any cropped sensor camera. Shooting a cropped sensor camera? You're sportin' a way overpriced digital version of a Minolta Vectus loaded with Advantix film. It's crap. Smaller? Hahaha. Shoot with your cell phone.

3. You should be shooting a Nikon FF DSLR. Canon sensors are currently "not competitive" imo due to their apparent desire to make their own. You should buy your FF camera based on the quality of its sensor and you should go by DXOmark rankings. Right now the cameras with the best sensors are made by Nikon (which outsources to Sony and Tower Jazz) and Sony -- and you can keep silly Sony cameras (a post for another day). New FF cameras are big and expensive. Thus your only real chances are used 600, 610, or 750. Cash stretched? A 700 will suffice. Best bargain? the 600 due to overblown oil spot issue. Anyway, Nikon by process of elimination. If this changes down the road, shot "whatever" camera has the best sensor specs unless it's a Sony.

4. These are the lenses you should purchase for your Nikon FF DSLR and the theory.

1. Ultra wide angle -- zoom (just say no to silly 20mm/1.8's and the like)
2. 24 to portrait length (85-135) primes (these are your mains and they should be primes...)
3. Tele -- zoom (70,80 -- 200-300) (just say no to silly 300/2.8 primes -- or what have you...)

Your main primes

-- All your primes should be autofocus. Autofocus. No "AI" lenses, No "AIS" lenses. They should be NIKKOR glass. Not "Sigma" (especially their silly "Art" series). That said, the Tamron primes with VC "might" be passable.

Your main lens should be a 50/1.4. Not "1.8", not "2.0", not "2.8". A 1.4. Not a 35. Not a 28. This is because you can shoot faces without much distortion and can take the proverbial two steps back (but you can't get rid of the facial stretching with a 35.) Since you're shooting a FF Nikon either the old AF-D or G. I opt for the older D (cheaper, better, overlooked, undervalued -- a "true" 1.4 t-stop value unlike that abomination the Sigma "Art" lens that's really closer to a 1.8.)

Next -- a 24. You will take this out and pair it with your 50 for wide/group shots. I recommend the dirt cheap Quantary Tech-10 24/2.8 which is the old Sigma Ultra Wide II in disguise and rates a 4.0 on Photodo. It also billed as a macro lens -- don't know about that but you can focus close.

(28 you ask? As Brother Manyard said before Arthur lobbed the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch at the killer Rabbit of Caerbannog -- it is RIGHT OUT!)

Next -- a 35. Really only one sensible choice here. The old 35/2 AF-D. Sometimes it's just fun to shoot with a fast 35. Small, light. But terrible for portraits... pair this with a...

Nikon 85/1.8 D or G. I went with the G series on this one. No need for the 1.4 unless you hate your money. You may also get a different short-tele Nikon like that DC one everone raves about (but I think it's too big and too expensive...)

Now -- your ancillary lenses to round out your tool set...

1. An ultra wide zoom. This is when you want to take a picture of a lovely landscape or are side hustling shooting real estate interiors. This is a "nice to have" piece but these lenses are pricey. No need for speed on these. You're shooting this on a tripod at f8 or f11 where they're all sharp. For this reason, I suggest the Tokina 17-35/4 ATX Pro (or whatever -- too lazy to look it up.) $399 -- as Alfred E used to say, "cheap".

2. Tele zoom. Bah. Hate these monstrosities. This is like watching Dario Argento's Dracula. Seen the rest -- and since I'm a completist... I went manual focus since this is an ancillary lens. I wanted the best picture quality for the least amount of money. So that means the old 80-200 metal monster f4.5 (or later f4), an $1800 lens in its day (adjusted for inflation). Now they cost $50-75 bucks. Several versions and much net noise about which one is best. I say get whatever one has the cleanest optics -- no scratches, haze, or fungus. Don't worry about zoom creep. This is not a lens you will often use. It's a "just in case"/occasional use lens. Still, not need to sacrifice IQ -- ever.


Other doo-dads.

Stop shooting "just" natural light. Get some Godox or Yongnou wireless radio flashes and a trigger. Also pick up various stands and diffusers.

Nikon FF DSLR body. Primes are your mains. Fast 1.4 50 your main-main. Zooms on either end of the focal length spectrum. Some cheep Chinese Speedlights and a radio trigger. Boom. Done.

This is the gear "thinking photographers" who don't hate their money own. It is what you should own. This is true.
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Old 07-06-2018   #2
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Old 07-06-2018   #3
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No,no,no. All you need is a rock with a pin hole for a lens and some pterodactyl skin for the bellows.

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Old 07-06-2018   #4
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Just passing the time while you wait for the beer to be delivered from Walmart?
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Old 07-06-2018   #5
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Nick--thanks! Great advice... I'm at the bank Monday for a loan--gotta do all this!
Finally good to know the answer..etc etc, ---- have a good one.
Paul
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Old 07-06-2018   #6
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For point 3 the " New FF cameras are big and expensive. " statement.
It is outdated, you should see the price, size and sensor size ratio of MFT DSLRs fakes.
It is fly poop in the zeppelin.
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Old 07-06-2018   #7
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Never thought I'd see a poe on rangefinderforum.
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Old 07-06-2018   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by peterm1 View Post
No,no,no. All you need is a rock with a pin hole for a lens and some pterodactyl skin for the bellows.


I was going to ask red or blue skin, but I see blue is the answer.
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Old 07-06-2018   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulbe View Post
Nick--thanks! Great advice... I'm at the bank Monday for a loan--gotta do all this!
Finally good to know the answer..etc etc, ---- have a good one.
Paul
Glad you get it. I wouldn't expect the rest of these foo'z to. It's about maximizing IQ, minimizing cost. It's all a max/min problem. Approach it like an engineer. Cost/quality. Price/performance. Hard data. Quantitative analysis. Leverage depreciation. Know when you're being marketeered to. Avoid any/all (red dotted) Veblen goods. I've done all the leg work for you -- amidst a deep sea of gear. No need for a loan. Volume digital cameras and lenses (not the niche ones -- the "cranked out in Asia" mass produced ones by companies that specialize in mass production) depreciate faster than cars, no shortage, plenty of supply. Sell your old "amatuer photo system" APS-C digital Kodak Advantix F600 (in whatever form it may be) camera(s) and lens(es) to some suckah. Use that scratch to partially fund a used FF Nikon -- a 700 if you're strapped, a 600 (undervalued, top 5 iirc sensor, small/light, will remain relevant for years) and a used 50/1.4 AF-D. Next the Quantaray 24/2.8 to pair with the 50. That'll set you back about $75 (best relatively undiscovered budget fastish WA prime lens out there...only 5 elements! Spring $8 for the matching "Sigma Perfect Hood". It flares a bit. Again -- Photodo MTF = 4. Not too shabby for a $70 lens with AF. Undervalued because "Quantaray".) Next move on to a Yongnuo or Goddox flash and wireless trigger, a diffuser or three. Take a breather then pick up your portrait lens. Then your ancillary zooms on the ends. These can be manual and 3rd-party. They're "nice-ities" and not really necessary. Build it over time. 24MP (or 12) is plenty. Don't get suckered by the release cycle. Don't be an early adapter suckah.
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Old 07-06-2018   #10
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Sounds like a great listing of what NOT to do.

No more late night coffee for Nick :]
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Old 07-06-2018   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M. View Post
Sounds like a great listing of what NOT to do.

No more late night coffee for Nick :]
It is completely the correct gear choices. Since when were APS film cameras any good? Why are they suddenly terrific in the digital era and worthy of a $1,500 price tags? They stink. They always did -- film or digital. Smaller sensors micro 4/3rd's? No. That's just silly. 35mm Film? No longer practical. Just isn't. Shoot a few roles for tactile pleasure if you must. Or shoot medium or large format. That's still fantastc and economical relative to MF digital.

That leaves you with full frame by process of eleminition. Finally, after all these years, you got your 35mm back -- on steroids relative to small format film. No stupid "Amateur Photo System" "crop factor". Your 35 = 35. Bokeh at f4 even! Now -- which one?

What gives you the most bang for the buck? For this we turn to DXO for data and eBay, Amazon, and KEH used for costs. D600. 94 on DXOmark (750 is 93) Canon and Leica nowhere in the top 10. Their sensors suck. Prices -- $600-700 used, going rate. I got mine at Ardorama with 18,000 actuations. (I bought an even cheaper one as a back-up.)

24MP -- still very relevant. Plenty of rez for anything. Still one of the best sensors on the market -- $650-ish at the big NYC retailers w/ box, wires, pile, and papers. Fairly small, fairly light, weather sealed, two SD cards. Oil spots? Send it to Nikon for free repair. Prob doesn't have it though, given it's been used since 2012. Neighter of mine had them. Or? Send it back to the retailer -- that's why you don't foo' with eBay on these. Don't have to.

Great camera. Classic. Undervalued.

The rest of my recommendations follow similar impecable logic. Max/min. Price/performance.

Coffee? Two today. One cold brew. One hot. This morning. It's Saturday evening. Cape May Belgium "inspired" craft beer -- and a nice peaty Islay dram. Yes.
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Old 07-06-2018   #12
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The correct gear choices for you maybe, but not for me. Sorry Nick but no. - jim
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Old 07-06-2018   #13
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Is this an ironic thread or a p*ssing contest?

If it's the latter, my Mamiya 6 gives me an effective 100MP. My Mamiya 7 was more like 150MP.

Do I win? (until the 8x10 guys arrive)
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Old 07-06-2018   #14
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Partially right on, Nick. Forget the 35/2 AF D. It's crap. Don't rule out the AIs lenses. Most are excellent. Built as well as Leica could have done. I am trying out the 17-35/2.8 Nikkor. I'm sure it's better than the Tokina. I've started doing pushups to deal with its weight on the D700. I'm sure it will work out. Keeping the 18/3.5, 20mm P CV, 24/2.8 AF-D just in case it doesn't. I'm with you on the 85/1.8 AF-D.
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Old 07-06-2018   #15
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Intentional or not, that is an awesome Ken Rockwell impersonation. Kudos.
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Old 07-06-2018   #16
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Haven`t got any of that stuff but can`t argue with the logic .
I am curious though about the dismissal of Sony …. I have two of `em.
Think I know what you might mean though Nick .
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Old 07-06-2018   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dpingr1 View Post
Intentional or not, that is an awesome Ken Rockwell impersonation. Kudos.

I was more inclined to think he was impersonating "The Angry Photographer"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fn4v4I40Fvo
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Old 07-07-2018   #18
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I have often wondered if Nick and Ken R have ever been seen together

As to the recommendations, the D600 is a very good camera and there's nothing wrong with the lenses recommended either. We're lucky to have so much choice and options.
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Old 07-07-2018   #19
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This is about the third time I have read Nick disparage Canon sensors, and I have no reason to doubt his personal sincerity.

I'm still waiting, however, for a Canon user to push back on this assertion.

- Murray
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Old 07-07-2018   #20
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I've always liked Nick's post, even though I never agree with them =)

Cheers for the entertainment!
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Old 07-07-2018   #21
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Rangefinder forum, the most appropriate place to advocate for DSLR
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Old 07-07-2018   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMur12 View Post
This is about the third time I have read Nick disparage Canon sensors, and I have no reason to doubt his personal sincerity.

I'm still waiting, however, for a Canon user to push back on this assertion

- Murray
As a Canon 6D user (as well as Nikon Df, D600 and D610 former user) I am happy to disagree with Nick's assertion that Canon sensors are pants. There is a world of difference between DXO's tests and real world usage and in the real world I've always found Canon's sensors to be just fine (former user of Canon 5D, 5Dii, 40D, 60D). At high ISO the 6D is on par with the Df and better than the D600/D610. Overall, image quality from Nikon or Canon won't let you down and other features should probably drive your brand choice. As I said in my previous post, how lucky are we to have so much choice and at reasonable prices (moot, I know).
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Old 07-07-2018   #23
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As a Canon 6D user (as well as Nikon Df, D600 and D610 former user) I am happy to disagree with Nick's assertion that Canon sensors are pants. There is a world of difference between DXO's tests and real world usage and in the real world I've always found Canon's sensors to be just fine (former user of Canon 5D, 5Dii, 40D, 60D). At high ISO the 6D is on par with the Df and better than the D600/D610. Overall, image quality from Nikon or Canon won't let you down and other features should probably drive your brand choice. As I said in my previous post, how lucky are we to have so much choice and at reasonable prices (moot, I know).
Thank you, Gid!

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Old 07-07-2018   #24
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Old 07-07-2018   #25
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Thanks Nick - you made my day
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Old 07-07-2018   #26
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I guess it must be April Fools Day again already.
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Old 07-07-2018   #27
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Originally Posted by rangefinderlove123 View Post
I've always liked Nick's post, even though I never agree with them =)

Cheers for the entertainment!
Thank you. But you should agree with them/me. I am showing youse the way. Nikon D600. DXOmark sensor score -- 94. Price paid -- $650 at big NYC camera retailer -- warranty, return policy, minty, 18,000 acts (just getting broken in...). Reasonbly small -- fairly light, one of the smallest/lightest DSLRs out there. Nikon 50/1.4D. (Rates iirc slightly better the latest 1.4 G -- don't quote. In any case, "around as good as" per DXO). $178, minty. $650 + $178 = $828... for some serious kit.

That's significantly less than a new APS "digital Minolta Vectis 30" -- of whatever stripe (a Fujica Fujifilm X100F for example -- $1300), with some crappy kit zoom lens... or the 1" sensor'd Sony RX100 IV ($900), effectively a glorified cell-phone without the phone.
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Old 07-07-2018   #28
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And since everyone likes old cameras around here -- it's even old! Digital cameras are like "dog years". One year for a digital camera = seven years for a film camera. The D600 was released in 2012, six years ago. 6*7= 42. It's like a 42 yo camera, really! Youse'd be right at home!
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Old 07-07-2018   #29
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My wet print phase shows no signs of abating so I can continue with my measly 8x10 Canham. I do use Nikkor glass on it, so perhaps I’m not entirely lost...
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Old 07-07-2018   #30
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Just passing the time while you wait for the beer to be delivered from Walmart?
This.

I’ve been traveling the past couple weeks and I’ve seen not a few DSLR-men. They’re often wearing basketball shorts and some kind of performance T-shirt and sports sunglasses. They are aiming their daddy-zooms like bazookas at their children, seagulls, blades of grass, empty bottles of cheap Pilsner, whatever. They are the bold mediocrity.
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Old 07-07-2018   #31
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A superb manner to free people with no sense of their ill gotten salaries..
Truth about quality and superior results is NOT making digital files from film, except for internet.
Wet laborious printing in a darkroom yields details and sharpness that will blow your mind.
An obsolete 35 mm SLR could set you back $10~25, lenses are easily available esp. 50 mm.
Film is plentiful, chemicals are easily affordable, printing paper again reasonable.
Way cheaper than printing inks for that goofy printer.
I love my toy digitals for internet where the phone is not as good.
Film so much fun.
There is no price on that joy!
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Old 07-07-2018   #32
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What if the IQ is not my priority...?
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Old 07-07-2018   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSmith View Post
This.

I’ve been traveling the past couple weeks and I’ve seen not a few DSLR-men. They’re often wearing basketball shorts and some kind of performance T-shirt and sports sunglasses. They are aiming their daddy-zooms like bazookas at their children, seagulls, blades of grass, empty bottles of cheap Pilsner, whatever. They are the bold mediocrity.
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Old 07-07-2018   #34
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Haven`t got any of that stuff but can`t argue with the logic .
I am curious though about the dismissal of Sony …. I have two of `em.
Think I know what you might mean though Nick .
This.

I shoot an original A7 with Canon FD glass so no stinkin' OVF Nikon (pun) anymore for me. But the FF 24MP sensor from that camera is identical to the D600 sensor.

And medium format + 4x5 of course.


I finally feel at ease with confessing I suck at 135 film!
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Old 07-07-2018   #35
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I use what I have and I don't just follow what someone happens to prefer. There are many choices open that we can choose from. For hobby-photography it does not make any difference really.
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Old 07-07-2018   #36
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Is this a joke?! Looks like it.

With best regards.

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Old 07-07-2018   #37
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This.

I shoot an original A7 with Canon FD glass so no stinkin' OVF Nikon (pun) anymore for me. But the FF 24MP sensor from that camera is identical to the D600 sensor.

I finally feel at ease with confessing I suck at 135 film


I didn`t know that it was the same sensor as in the D600 Johann ,although I know that Nikon use Sony sensors.

I alternate my use of the Sony cams with a 5D3 which I tend to use for the sports stuff.
Yes on an objective level the Sony sensor is more modern looking but I still like the 5D3 files.

Re film …. for over 30 years I shot nothing but slide film.
For the last 12 years I`ve been using HP5
My confession is that I suck at film development .
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Old 07-07-2018   #38
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Yes yes yes! A fine rant, I think!

I finally broke down and went digital - just a few decades late! For my first DSLR, I just got a D600 with an MB-D14 Nikon battery grip (and extra battery) for $600 on FleaBay. I agree - it's a heckova deal because people were scared of alleged spotty sensors - some WERE bad but mine is A-OK.

Why Nikon? Just to tick off a friend who shoots Canon. I don't see any difference between Canon and Nikon gear - it all seems pretty decently made.

D600 has 53 K actuations - it's in great shape. Use it with a Nikkor 50mm AF-S Special Edition f1.8 that I got for $200. Total investment including shipping for D600, battery grip and 50mm lens was $816.00. This lens, BTW, is silly sharp. I may get some Tamron VC lenses in future, like 90mm macro or 15-30mm wide angle. Pretty happy with D600 but also shooting B&W film on Leica Ms. And 120 on Bronica ETRSi.

I do like the instant gratification factor of the DSLR, but I still enjoy wet printing. I'm the black-and-white darkroom tech at a community college in NW New Mexico, which gives me free use of the darkroom.
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Old 07-07-2018   #39
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No,no,no. All you need is a rock with a pin hole for a lens and some pterodactyl skin for the bellows.

An impressive amount of tilts and swings for such a primitive camera.....

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Old 07-07-2018   #40
NickTrop
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LCSmith View Post
This.

I’ve been traveling the past couple weeks and I’ve seen not a few DSLR-men. They’re often wearing basketball shorts and some kind of performance T-shirt and sports sunglasses. They are aiming their daddy-zooms like bazookas at their children, seagulls, blades of grass, empty bottles of cheap Pilsner, whatever. They are the bold mediocrity.
We are now categorizing individuals based on their sartorial choices? "DSLR-men"? I am giving you a road map -- the one true correct logical path to navigate a sea of confusing choices.

If these choices were programmed into Watson or some other narrow AI Von Neumann box with sophisticated algorithms designed for THE one optimal price/performance solution for gear choice, there is no doubt in my mind its and my own choices would exacty align.

1. APS digital cameras? No. Since when was APS ever any good? Smaller? Even worse. This negates 85% of all gear out there excluding cell phones.

2. Small format film? No. Shoot it for fun. But it's obsolete. (Medium and large format film is stil fine, however.)

3. That leaves you with only full frame cameras. Which ones are best?

4. Answer: the ones with the best sensor specs. And there is great and surprising variance within this realm such as the surprisingly lackluster performance of Canon and Leica sensors according to DXO. That leaves with two vendor choices: Nikon or Sony (and one Pentax) based on impartial published independent evaluation available to all.

5. Sony is eliminated for a host of reasons pertaining to the bodies Sony chose to put their great sensors in. That leaves only Nikon (and a Pentax -- which is a viable contrarian choice...)

6. Which Nikon? The one with the highest price/performance ratio.

... and that clearly is a used Nikon D600 which has been greatly devalued due to some early production problems and associated bad PR by way of blog chatter...

I have applied equally impeccabe rationale to what lenses, what order to purchase them in -- and why. I won't rehash this now.

Nikon D600 with low actuations and the 50/1.4 AF-D. Used. ~ $870. (Add other lenses later...)

This clearly resolves the upper limit of the price/perforance ratio of currently available gear. Hands down. Bar none.

Let's see what Mr. Rockwell has to say about the matter -- for ducks. Well, well, well --

"The Nikon D600 is Nikon's best digital camera ever, at any price. The D600 has better image quality than any of Nikon's professional cameras like the $6,000 D4, and the D600 is the smallest and lightest full-frame digital camera ever from Nikon. The D600 has the best ergonomics and handling of any Nikon DSLR."

-- and he published this before one could be had used for $6-700 bucks. It slightly outperforms the current production D750 (94-93 per DXO) with the same resolution spec of 24MP, more than enough and relevant for some time to come, and bumps up against the top-of-the-line D810 rated at 97.

https://kenrockwell.com/nikon/d600.htm
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