Starting from today, I decided to start posting some of the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) by our blog readers. We get a lot of questions and feedback through comments and email, so I decided to post some of the shorter ones here. Let’s get started with the first part of Photography FAQ.
- I am having a hard time picking between Nikon D90 and Nikon D300/D300s. What do you recommend?
Unless you are planning to photograph fast-action sports, action and wildlife, I would recommend Nikon D90 over Nikon D300/D300s, especially if it is going to be your first DSLR. Nikon D90 is a great camera that works great for occasional portraits, landscapes and other types of photography where the speed of the camera is not important. As can be seen in our Nikon D300 vs D90 high ISO comparison, Nikon D90 deals with noise in high ISOs a little better than Nikon D300. This is due to a slightly better sensor and a more aggressive noise-reduction algorithm on the Nikon D90. Therefore, if you were to compare the image quality of both cameras, Nikon D90 would have a very slight edge over Nikon D300. In addition, accessories for Nikon D90 are a lot cheaper than for Nikon D300/D300s (for example battery grip and remote camera trigger). So, unless you have special needs, you should buy the Nikon D90.
- Do you recommend using filters on lenses for protection? Do filters degrade image quality?
Absolutely! I use clear filters on every single lens that I have for not only protection, but also for easiness of cleaning. Many lenses have round front elements that stick out and are somewhat painful to clean. In contrast, filters do not have this problem and are very easy to clean. If a filter gets scratched or damaged, you throw it away and get a new one, knowing that the front element of your lens is always protected. Now as far as filters degrading image quality, it all really depends on the quality of the filter. In general, filters do have a slightly negative impact on image quality – after-all, it is another glass element in front of your lens! However, if you get a good high-quality filter, it will have almost no negative impact on image quality. At least not something you will notice with a naked eye. I personally use clear/protection filters by a company called B+W and I use their B+W 77mm MRC Clear Filter on lenses with a 77mm filter thread. I buy the same kind of protection filter for all other filter threads as well. Always make sure to get an MRC (Multi-Coated) version of the filter. There are many other filter manufacturers such as Tiffen and Hoya out there, but I prefer to use B+W, because their glass is of higher quality.
- Is there a considerable difference between FX (full frame) and DX (cropped-sensor)?
Yes, there is. Full frame sensors have a much larger sensor than cropped sensors and therefore have larger pixels that are more sensitive to light. When it comes to both image quality and low-light capabilities, FX has a huge advantage over DX. There is a 2-stop difference between low-light capabilities of FX versus DX. For example, shooting at ISO 3200 on Nikon D700 is comparable to ISO 800 on Nikon D300s. Check out my FX vs DX article on differences between these formats in much more detail.
- What Nikon portrait lens do you recommend?
In my opinion, the best lenses for portrait photography are Nikon 50mm f/1.4G, Nikon 85mm f/1.4D and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II (not cheap). I personally love the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G and use it more than any other lens.
- I see that most of your articles are about Nikon. Are you planning to cover Canon gear in the future as well?
We try to write most of our “howto” articles for both Nikon and Canon digital cameras. However, since we primarily use Nikon cameras and lenses, we feel that it would be wrong to write about gear we do not have much experience with. I personally shot with Canon Digital Rebel and 40D/50D/5D DSLR cameras in the past, but we do not own any Canon equipment at the moment. We are hoping to start playing with Canon equipment more in the future though, read why below.
- Are you planning to write more reviews on cameras and lenses?
Going forward, one of the largest photography stores in the world (you can probably guess which one) will be sending us new equipment for reviewing and testing. We are honored and privileged to be able to do this and our review section will be growing in numbers fairly quickly. The only problem I have is time – testing, reviewing and writing about products takes weeks of hard work. But we are committed to our website and our readers, so we will work hard on making it all happen!
That’s it for now, more to come later!