Nikon Getting drawn back to Nikon DSLRs & old F-mount lenses!

Jonathan F/2

All-Pro
Location
Los Angeles, USA
Name
Jonathan
* Cross posted at Fred Miranda, but I think it applies here as well!

Lately I've been getting drawn to the low prices of DSLRs and old F-mount lenses. For example when I had tested the Z6, A7III and D750, the D750 surprisingly had sharper OOC raws over the Z6 and was not too far behind the A7III. Also I've been seeing minty D700 bodies with low shutter counts selling close to $300 USD, which is still very capable of professional results. My local camera store is selling used D810 bodies for around $800-900 USD. Lastly long forgotten, but sharp F-mount AF-D lenses (especially from 3rd party lens manufacturers) can be purchased for very affordable prices. I've seen people on forums and elsewhere shooting the latest and greatest, but I think there's something to be said about maximizing cheaper gear to it's fullest potential.

What I found best with older equipment is to run the fastest memory cards possible, shoot raw, AF fine tune adjust every lens or if need be send the camera to Nikon for a focus adjustment for best results. I'm shooting a pair of D750 bodies right now that were both simultaneously calibrated by Nikon (under the worldwide shutter recall) to the exact same parameters making AF fine tune easier since I can use the same values for each lens.

Also if one isn't shooting action, center focus is the best focus point for any DSLR and the old school shoot/recompose technique does wonders for sharp images. I also do shoot with the Sony A7III, but I feel like it's forced me to shoot better with my DSLR bodies by improving technique and trying to match the focus precision of CDAF/OSPDAF cameras. Also my attraction to AF-D lenses is that they seem to take AF fine tuning much better and don't seem to have focus issues similar to built-in motor lenses like Sigma's HSM.

I'm now a bit obsessed with finding older lenses that might hold-up well in real world conditions. The cheaper the better!

My two lens finds I feel can hold up with modern lenses and cameras - the Sigma 15-30mm DG and Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8:
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Pictures of the Sigma 15-30mm f3.5-4.5 EX DG Lens and the Tokina 20-35mm f2.8 AT-X Pro Lens by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro, stopped down to f/4:
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LACMA and The Grove - photos taken with the D750 + Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro lens and the Sony NEX-5T + Olympus 9mm f/8 BCL fisheye lens by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Tokina has killer flare that new lenses try to suppress:
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Sample images with the Tokina 20-35mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro lens for Nikon F-Mount by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Sigma 15-30mm DG tends to get moire and false colors, a sign of excellent sharpness:
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190519_SILVER_LAKE_PHOTOS_FRIOLO_009 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

The Sigma is still plenty wide for most uses:
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190519_SILVER_LAKE_PHOTOS_FRIOLO_005 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

DSLRs are sexy dinosaurs especially with old lenses - 105mm 2.5 AI-S and 50mm 1.8 AI-S all-metal Japanese edition:
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180213_gear_porn_004 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 
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Coksic

Top Veteran
Location
Belgrade, Serbia
Name
Mladen Čoko
They did some sorcery and trickery with the D750 image quality. Everything I've seen from that camera is in the different league, quite often besting cameras with more megapixels. It just looks better! I dunno...
I wonder how this Tokina compares with the Nikkor 20-35mm f2.8..
 

rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Location
London
I've often thought about buying MF lenses for my Nikon DSLR from now on, not only Nikkor/ F mount glass, but the Takumars with an adapter. I know we're supposed to preference focus peaking, but I don't seem to have a problem focusing through the OVF; more camera, less computer, a more rewarding experience with a better end result. Is it me or do those earlier cmos cameras render a bit more 'organically' than the current releases? On thing though - whilst some F mount lenses are indeed cheap, I do feel in quite a few instances as if the market's alert to all of this. Certain beauties, like the Nikkor AI-S 105mm F1.8 ain't cheap anymore.
 
Location
Finland
Recent experiments with modern mirrorless cameras have pushed me to consider if I should get my Df fit with a focusing screen and go deeper into the wonderful world of manual-focus Nikkor lenses!

A split prism focusing screen like Nikon K3 or a Canon Ec-B would be the ticket?
 
Just acquired a PC-Nikkor 28mm f/3.5 - gobsmacked how small it is - a really sweet lens.

Generally, I will use this with a D800 or on an Olympus E-M1 II with a Metabones Speedbooster.

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saladin

Regular
Name
Jason
This thread shares my sentiments. A year or so back I found a minty D200 for $130-ish US dollars. I've added 2nd hand 35 and 50mm lenses.

I mainly shoot mirrorless these days, but yesterday I took the D200 for a quick walk around the city after work. I discovered that I still really like the immediacy of an Ovf , and the ccd files off this camera have a certain rendering to them that I love. I think I'll make an effort to use it more often over coming weeks, and I'm already wondering if I could find a reasonably priced 70-200 (or 80-200) to kit with it.

The things I instinctively missed? Ibis/ stabilisation. Keeping an eye on shutter speed is something I'd forgotten with my Olympus and Panasonic cameras. And the modern convenience of wifi transfer. Having to dig out a CF card reader and transfer to a computer is a forgotten , err, "experience". But I do think I'll always own an OVF camera of some type . Maybe i should find a cheap D800. But then, it won't have the ccd sensor....


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rayvonn

Hall of Famer
Location
London
This thread shares my sentiments. A year or so back I found a minty D200 for $130-ish US dollars. I've added 2nd hand 35 and 50mm lenses.

I mainly shoot mirrorless these days, but yesterday I took the D200 for a quick walk around the city after work. I discovered that I still really like the immediacy of an Ovf , and the ccd files off this camera have a certain rendering to them that I love. I think I'll make an effort to use it more often over coming weeks, and I'm already wondering if I could find a reasonably priced 70-200 (or 80-200) to kit with it.

The things I instinctively missed? Ibis/ stabilisation. Keeping an eye on shutter speed is something I'd forgotten with my Olympus and Panasonic cameras. And the modern convenience of wifi transfer. Having to dig out a CF card reader and transfer to a computer is a forgotten , err, "experience". But I do think I'll always own an OVF camera of some type . Maybe i should find a cheap D800. But then, it won't have the ccd sensor....


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It really isn’t about the latest gizmos is it. Having just the raw tools at your disposal and nothing else is a wonderful thing. I swapped my Nikon for a Z6 which is extremely useful (image stabilisation, legacy glass use, ultimate focusing abilities when manually focusing etc) but I still nevertheless really miss that Nikon DSLR.
 
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saladin

Regular
Name
Jason
It really isn’t about the latest gizmos is it. Having just the raw tools at your disposal and nothing else is a wonderful thing. I swapped my Nikon For a Z6 which is extremely useful (image stabilisation, legacy glass use, ultimate focusing abilities when manually focusing etc) but I still nevertheless really miss that Nikon DSLR.


Yes, and there's a simple tactile feel to it all. Even the shutter feels satisfying despite not being overly quiet, lol. There's a certain finality to it - you've taken the shot and I'm making sure you know it! And little things like card formatting on exterior buttons - why has the industry shifted from that? No menu diving, no scrolling, just hold two buttons and you're done.

It's quite an interesting experience to reacquaint with. I recommend it.
 

albertk

Veteran
For almost the same size, a thu-the-lens is much more convenient than an EVF. That said, I get good results from my S5.
But really having a small OVF [digital, old generation, again] would make me happier. I had a gorgeous Canon F1 New with a special ground glass. A dream. My wife loved it.
Some idiot thought it nice to be able to quickly change the focus spot on the S5 - and on the M10.​
The S5 has a joy stick that the thumb very easily finds, it is at the natural position for the thumb - so you miss several shots.​
The M10 Electronic Display reacts even to the touching of the nose in life view.​

The oldie Nikon 200 has a nice rendering sensor and a good view finder.
New hi-res sensors are nice, but even as the charts say then have "low nois", the pictures do have a graininess, clumping, that the old generation sensors did not have.
 

Knikki

Regular
I have had Nikon gear, amongst other stuff, for yonks and last year I decided I would start shooting again. My idea was to use a mix of digital and film, with that in mind I picked up a cheap Nikon D700, twiddled about in the menu system and also learn about Profiles and I am really pleased with the images out of it. Different to the more modern day high res sensors, a more pleasant "less sharp" and more realistic image as how I see the world.

Would I get rid of my mirror less cameras in favour of an old school DSLR?
No, I love the way the EVF works and I like the small size, especially compared to some of the other DSLRs I have acquired over the last year.
Both have a place and I use both and enjoy using them, which is what photography is all about :)
 
Location
Kansas
Name
Mel
I still carry around an old Nikon D2x, a Fuji S3 Pro, and a Nikon D 750. I use the D2x for daylight sports coupled with a 75-150 Vivitar, a 180 3.5 AF Macro Sigma, and other concoctions I have in the cupboard. We have debated selling the D750 but the wife will hear nothing like that.
It is damn near amazing to see the images from the 12mp D2x and even more amazing to crop them tightly. They hold together very well. They are just so darned heavy. I have a very old Soligor 250mm 3.5 MF lens which is not the greatest for contrast and it has to be dehazed in Lightroom for popping colors but it is fun. My keepers are lower not because of the equipment but from old eyes and slow reflexes. I prefer shooting with AF lenses such as I have for the Olympus cameras we own.
 
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