How shooting video led to me selling all my Nikon DX gear

Whether you’re an amateur or professional shooter the choice of which camera brand and format to buy can be daunting. Often after you’ve shot with it for a while another round of soul-searching can happen as you better understand the strengths and limitations of your gear, and consider where your photography and/or videography is going to take you. I suppose we all go on our own ‘gear journey’…this is mine.

Nikon D600 vs D7000

Like the vast majority of Nikon DSLR shooters I started with DX gear, ending up with a D7000 and some of the better performing Nikkor DX lenses like the 16-85mm VR f/3.5-5.6, the 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5, the 35mm f/1.8, and the 85mm micro f/3.5. I also had one FX lens, the 70-300 VR f/3.5-5.6. It was cost effective and gave me the flexibility I needed. If my business hadn’t expanded into doing a lot more video work than still photography, I quite likely would still be shooting with it today.

I loved the dynamic range and colour depth of the D7000, as well as the weather sealing, dual card slots and a host of other features. Low light performance was quite good and I could regularly shoot stills at ISO1600 without hesitation. For the money it was simply the best cropped sensor camera on the market for still photography. At the time, it was the only Nikon body that could shoot 1080HD video, albeit only at 24p. Doing a lot of video work wasn’t on my radar screen, but I wanted to make sure I could offer 1080 HD to clients if the opportunity arose.

The D7000 DX-based kit served me well for the industrial photography work I was doing, It didn’t take long before clients started asking me if I could also do video for them. I was ready and gladly took on the projects. I bought more video related gear like a follow focus, a camera slider and a decent fluid video head. Having those tools allowed me to add good production value to the projects I was getting. Pretty soon my video work began to grow rapidly, becoming a higher percentage of my revenue than was my still photography work.

That was when the video limitations of my D7000 started to show up. Adding camera movements in my video shots were tricky as shooting in 24p can make things a bit choppy if I wasn’t careful. Moire was more common than I would have liked. Some clients began asking if I could shoot 1080 HD in 30p. And, I was getting frustrated having to go in and out of live-view every time I needed to change aperture when shooting a video clip.

As luck would have it (or so I thought), the D600 arrived on the scene. I thought it was a god-send. A ‘reasonably-priced’ FX camera that offered shallow depth-of-field for more creativity. Great low light performance. And, it could shoot 1080 HD video in 30p, which was my most urgent client need. I could clearly see the additional creative options that an FX body would give me for my business. So, I took the plunge and I was an early adopter and bought one of the first D600s available in Canada. Along with the kit lens, I added a couple of ‘pro-grade’ constant aperture Nikkor FX zooms to my kit (16-35 F/4 VR and 70-200 f/4 VR).

While the D600 ended up being a disaster with dust/oil spot issues, I did learn the value of an FX body in terms of overall image quality, low light performance for stills, and the creativity that can come from shallow depth-of-field. I also learned that DSLRs can be very unpredictable when it comes to video performance. The D600 was a poster child for moire, far worse than my D7000. I loved shooting stills with the D600, and the FX sensor spoiled me. I tried to put up with the oil/dust issues but after almost 8 months of heartache, and going through three different copies of the D600 I finally moved up to a D800. I made the move with some trepidation though. It meant another card format, larger files to deal with, and more money.

I fell in love with the D800 immediately, and still love it today. The video quality is terrific with very little moire. And, for still photography I don’t think there is a better DSLR for the kind of work I do…fantastic dynamic range, great colour depth, very good low light performance, and wonderfully detailed images.

My D7000, which had been a rock solid performer for me, was relegated to a back-up role and virtually never came out of my bag. The D800 was doing dual duty as an FX and a DX body, and I found it easier to change the image size setting in the camera, rather than change bodies when I was on a shoot. I guess I’m a bit lazy.

Crunch time had arrived. It just didn’t make sense for me to hang on to the D7000 from a business standpoint. It had become redundant to my still photography and video needs because of a dramatic change in the kind of client work I was doing.

What to do? I could change DX bodies for one with better video like the D5200…but then I would still have the same live-view/aperture issue I had with the D7000 Plus, no weather sealing. But there were positives. After lying on my belly in numerous factories and warehouses setting up low angle video shots, the flip screen on the D5200 did look appealing. I researched the D5200 video quality and discovered it was Nikon’s best performing DSLR regardless of price (note: the D5200 has since been replaced by the D5300 which is also highly regarded for its video capability). It was very tempting…but was that really the best decision?

The other option was to change brands and make my second camera a Panasonic GH3, or maybe a Sony, or an Olympus, but that would mean even more money with additional lenses. Some of them were quite expensive as well. And, I wasn’t sure about video file format differences between those cameras and my D800.

Enter the Nikon 1 V2. It had a small CX sensor which I REALLY liked. It would give me much deeper depth-of-field at any given aperture which would be very useful from a creative standpoint, especially when forced to shoot video at f/1.8 or f/2.0 in lower light conditions. I’d get complete control of shutter speed and aperture with external controls and no live-view hassle when shooting video (at the time only high end ‘pro’ Nikon FX bodies allowed this feature). Plus, I could use all of my existing Nikkor glass if I bought the FT-1 adapter. It would give me significantly more reach with any of my FX lenses for both stills and video. The native 1 Nikon lenses were limited in terms of selection…but they were pretty decent quality and quite inexpensive, so I could put a small CX system together and not break the bank. Plus the V2 could shoot the video specs I needed in a very small body that I could put in hard to access places…which is quite common when doing industrial video productions. I was sold.

The Nikon 1 V2 with a couple of kit zoom lenses were added to my kit, and the V2 very quickly became my second camera for all of my video projects. Unlike DX and FX format Nikon cameras, every bit of the sensor is read when shooting video with a Nikon 1 body. So, the line skipping used in DX and FX bodies is avoided, and with it, most of the moire issues. The ISO noise performance with the V2 in video is actually better than when it is used to shoot stills. When shooting video up to ISO800 it is pretty close to the D800 and the V2 can be pushed to ISO1600 and still produce acceptable results. Was I expecting the Nikon 1 V2 to replace my D7000 in terms of still image quality? Not a chance.

I initially kept my D7000 and my DX lenses. Even though I wasn’t using it much at all any more, knowing that it was in my bag did give me a huge feeling of comfort when going on a client shoot.

Eventually I came to the realization that from a business standpoint I couldn’t justify having money tied up in a DX body and lenses that I wasn’t using. Camera bodies aren’t like wine…they don’t go up in value the longer you keep them. When I read rumors about a potential D7100 coming out I knew it was time to make a move and sell my DX system. It was like saying goodbye to a great friend. Within a short time it was all sold at decent prices. A confirmation of the reputation that Nikon gear has in the market place is that it holds its value quite well. And, with the popularity of the DX format there is always a good market for a well-respected Nikon body like the D7000.

I reinvested the money in some Nikkor FX primes (the f/1.8 trinity, 28mm, 50mm and 85mm) and more 1 Nikon lenses to round out my FX/CX video shooting capability and enhance my full frame still photography arsenal.

What’s next for me on my photo gear journey? Likely a long telephoto zoom. I’ll be doing a review for Photography Life on the Nikon-mount Tamron 150-600 VC when it becomes available within the next couple of months. Depending on how it performs with my D800 (in FX and DX mode) and my V2 I may buy one.

Anything else on my mind? Well, after getting over my initial, huge disappointment with the DxOMark scores on the Nikon 1 V3 I am re-examining that option for my business. The Nikon 1 V3’s video capabilities are what may win me over. There is a lot to like from a videographer’s viewpoint… 1080 HD in 60p, 720 HD in 120p, flip screen with touch screen focusing for easy rack focusing, movie E-VR to reduce camera shake when shooting hand-held video, and a handy 10-30mm power zoom. There are things about the Nikon 1 V3 I don’t like: price, micro SD chip, and yet another new battery from Nikon.

At the end of the day it’s just a business decision about return-on-investment. I know the V3 would add some additional higher-end production value to my video work, and could lead to additional video assignments because of the additional capabilities. If it does then the $1,200 investment will be recouped with the very next video project.

I’m also intrigued with the new 1 Nikon 70-300 f/3.5-5.6 zoom that has an equivalent field-of-view of 189-810mm. Could it be possible that this lens on a Nikon 1 V3 or my V2 could outperform the Tamron 150-600 VC on my D800 when shooting in DX crop mode? I don’t know…but I intend to find out….that may be another review on Photography Life!

It was a dramatic shift in my client work towards video, coupled with limited Nikon product choices in terms of video capability that caused me to move into FX, then CX, and to eventually sell all my Nikon DX gear. If my business had remained centred on still photography I could very well still be shooting with DX gear today.

My ‘gear journey’ story likely is far from being typical. The vast majority of camera owners don’t own gear with the intent of making an income with it. And, I suspect most professional photographers don’t make the majority of their income from doing video either.

So, what about you? What kind of decision making processes have you gone through when you’ve decided to add gear, or sell gear? Or change camera brands? Do you have any current dilemmas? Photography Life has lots of very experienced readers who may be able to help with your current dilemma. Let us know, and share your stories.

Article Copyright 2014, Thomas Stirr. All rights reserved. No use, reproduction or duplication including electronic is allowed without written consent.


  1. April 6, 2014 at 11:37 pm

    I’d always been interested in photography, but didn’t really know the first thing about it. 14 months ago I bought my first DSLR. I did about 2 weeks of research, but that still wasn’t nearly enough. I bought a D3200 bundle with 18-55, 55-200, wifi adapter, carrying bag etc. from Costco for $779, plus tax. Looking back on it, this makes me sick to my stomach as I could have got a refurb for half the price. A few months later I added the 35mm/1.8g – this lense was almost always attached to the body from then on.

    About 7 months later I decided that I was beginning to outgrow the D3200, and bought a D7000 used on ebay. Sold the D3200 bundle entirely. From then on I’ve been steadily adding to my lens collection – first was the Sigma 70-200/2.8 as I thought I’d want to get into shooting sports. Decided I needed an external flash so I added the SB-700. Then the Rokinon 14/2.8 for milkyway/landscapes. I started getting portrait requests so I added the Nikkor 50/1.4D. Recently I thought I wanted to give macro a try, and spring was coming up so I added the Tokina 100/2.8.

    Photography for me is roughly 90% personal pleasure, 10% business at this point in my journey. I’ve made roughly $1200 selling prints, and only had 3 paid events/portrait sessions at the time of this writing. I feel like it’s getting to the point where I should have an idea of where I want to go with it, but I don’t. The most natural inclination is to focus on landscapes, which is more or less what I’ve been doing. But I feel like there’s so much more to explore and try out before I “settle” on that route.

    With this in mind I’m not sure which system I should go with moving forward. I’ve already been stretching the limits for printing with D7000 files. Sucks when someone requested a 30×40 and I’m not sure if I can deliver it in high enough quality. D800 seems like the logical next step for me, but I’m not sure if I’m ready to make such a big leap, and ultimately invest that much more money in something that’s not exactly paying my bills.

    Anyway, that’s where I’m at right now. Thanks for providing a space for me to tell my story.

    • 1.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 12:38 am

      Hi Jay G,

      Thanks for sharing your story! Sounds like you’re off to a good start getting some paid work after only 14 months since buying your D3200.


  2. 2) Alis Dobler
    April 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Hi Thomas
    Thanks for sharing your experience. I started about 7 years ago with Canon DSLR cropped sensor (I had only one consumer lens, not good). Last year I decided to go a bit more “professional” and got a Nikon d7100. I own DX-lenses (35mm 1.8, tokina 50-135mm 2.8, tokina 11-16mm 2.8) and 2 FX-lenses (50mm 1.8G and Nikkor 180mm 2.8 (my favorite lens)). I’v been shooting with it for almost a year now and I can say that I’m pretty sure I’ll be moving to FX next year…
    I mostly shoot dogs in motion and I’m not so happy with low light performance… at ISO 2000, post-processing gives me quite “soft” pictures when I get rid of the noise. But maybe it’s also because I don’t really know how to handle the noise…

    I also envy the image quality of FX sensors… anyway I haven’t made any decisions yet and still feel like I first need to be a better photograph (getting sharp action pictures!) before I justify to put money in FX (photography is only a hobby).

    • 2.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 12:42 am

      HI Alis,

      Thanks for your posting! Always interesting to hear what other folks are doing. If you want some information on handling noise, there’s a good piece on Photography LIfe:


      • 2.1.1) Alis
        April 7, 2014 at 12:56 am

        Thank you for the link!

  3. 3) Global
    April 7, 2014 at 12:57 am

    Is this for the 800mm reach exclusively in daylight, or is it also for indoors/low-light and wide-angle?

    I’m confused, because it seems like reach is the only reason you’re ditching DX, when you consider the D5300, etc, even though DX will be the superior system in low-light. And I don’t understand how you would expect the V3 @ 800mm to perform better than the DX at an equivalent in crop in low-light, so does it mean you are only considering excellent lighting conditions?

    I would wager that the V3 is an excellent camera for what it is (one that I’d consider taking on a tour of Europe instead of a bulky FX) — but I feel doubtful that if this is for client work that you will be satisfied with the low-light results of such a small sensor. Also, how will you handle wide angles?

    I would suggest that you probably need a D5300/D7200….. This article is confusing me, because you seem to suggest that V3 should perform similar the D800 as a PROFESSIONAL need of yours. But at the same time you dismiss DX, which has superior lenses — unless all you ever need is telephoto in bright light conditions.

    So I just wonder — is this for the 800mm reach exclusively in daylight, or is it also for indoors/low-light and wide-angle (you addressed neither)?

    • 3.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 3:01 am

      Hi Global,

      Thanks for your comments and questions. Here’s some additional clarification:

      1) The primary reason I ditched DX was because of a lack of video capability and full, external manual video controls. Going in and out of live view to change aperture is simply a terrible waste of time when onsite doing a client shoot when you have limited time to get all of your clips done.

      2) Any of the still photography work I do for clients is done with my D800 along with a good assortment of FX lenses (28 mm f/1.8, 50mm f/1.8, 85mm f/1.8, 105mm micro f/2.8 VR, 16-35 f/4 VR, 70-200 f/4 VR and 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR).

      The Nikon 1 V2 is only used for client video productions where it is a terrific compliment to the D800, and it does produce very similar video quality as long as it is shot at ISO800 and lower. I never use it for still photography for clients. Sorry if there was any confusion about that.

      I should also point out that all of my video work is done with studio lights that I bring on site so I very seldom shoot at anything higher than ISO800 when doing video work….so the small CX sensor in the V2 is of no concern whatsoever under those conditions.

      2) My interest in the 1 Nikon 70-300 and the Tamron 150-600 VC would be for shooting birds/wildlife outdoors in good lighting conditions only. I’ve shot my Nikon 1 V2 with an efov of 918mm at f/6.7 up to ISO800 and the results have been quite acceptable (i.e. 70-200 f/4 with Nikkor TC17-E II teleconverter). You can see some of those shots in my V2 review here on Photography Life.

      For any kind of low light stills shooting I always use my D800…which is why I am also considering the Tamron 150-600. I could shoot with that using my D800 in either FX or DX mode, or by putting my FT-1 adapter on my V2 I could also use it with the Tamron….it would give me a efov of 405-1620mm.

      The 1 Nikon 70-300 is of interest because of its small size and lightweight, and also because of the 15 fps af-c capability of my Nikon 1 V2. As you know, the D800 can only shoot 4 fps in FX and 5 fps in DX. Being able to shoot with 15 fps continuous auto focus at an efov of 810mm @ f/5.6 with a set up weighing less than 2 pounds is very interesting to me.

      Hope this additional clarification has helped.


  4. 4) Autofocusross
    April 7, 2014 at 1:45 am

    Hi, much of what ‘Global’ (above) wrote, was crossing my mind too, after ownership of the D7000 for such a long time, I’m surprised Thomas dismisses all DX models so easily now?

    As to my journey… at age 11 in 1964 I got a very basic camera which I think shot a film format somewhere between 35mm and 120 – it was a roll film camera, a christmas present. I used it a few times and loved the black and whites, fuzzy though they were. After the initial love relationship, the camera went into a drawer, and I have no idea what happened to it.

    Years passed, the odd ‘snapshot’ camera was used on holidays etc, and then I got married – I think that is what sparked my interest. I had a job which entailed travelling all over the country for a while (UK) and seeing the quality of our wedding photos, I started reading magazines. One major influence was a columist writing in the ‘Amateur Photographer’ magazine – one Victor Blackman, now at rest. His job as a press photographer, and ultimately chief press photographer at the Daily Express gave me many a chuckle. Such as the time the paper set up a number of remote controlled cameras on bridges, up lamp posts, and so on, to get exclusive views of the Royal Wedding between Charles and Dianna – only for the bomb disposal team to come around an hour before the event, broadcasting all radio frequencies to set off any devices which may have been set up by terrorists – I recall Victor explaining that one of the cameras produced a 250 exposure roll of 35mm film which gave a perfectly exposed and focussed shot of a pile of horse manure (from the rehearsal that morning from one of the household cavalry horses). The bomb team had inadvertently set off all of the cameras on the route, rendering thousands of pounds worth of work and equipment useless!

    His anecdotes led me to eventually purchase a decent camera, the Canon A1 slr, which, at the time, was the best-but-one 35mm on the market – the Canon F1 being the ultimate pro camera. Victor made a great point of telling us, through his column, that unless you intended to drop the camera on the ground twice a day, leave it out in the rain, and otherwise, mis-treat it, the nearly double cost of it, over the next in the range, the A1, was a complete waste of money, since images from either camera were indistinguishable.

    Although many of us keen on photography, back then, secretly longed to own the F1, most, like me, settled on the A1. I took thousands of images with that camera, and even took eight or nine weddings as the official photographer, at the height of my interests. Unfortunatley, the kids started to grow up, my job changed and demanded more time in the office, and the Canon found itself sealed in a case, with the lenses and accessories, for a good 14 years before, again with changing circumstances, I found myself in a supermarket, reading a photographic magazine. I can remember the headline, it was something like… ‘DSLR’s can now offer you live view’… and I had no idea what that was, at the time.

    It was only a matter of months before I found myself weighing up the pro’s and con’s of this camera, with that lens, and these accessories. The dutiful Canon A1 went on Ebay and got a good price, considering the market, and I topped up the fund and went for the D5000 with 18-108mm lens. Delighted with it for some time, and gained a sigma 10-20mm plus the Nikkor 55-300mm and a sunpak ttl flash unit.

    It was when I got reallly close in ACR that I found the detail was not as sharp as I would have liked, and sold the 5000 upgrading to the 16mpix 5100. This was much better, and I thought that this kit would see me out… breakdowns and thefts excepted, however, the 5200 came out and I managed to sell the 5100 high, and found a really keen price on the 5200, which is where I am now.

    In the past few months I have also discovered the DXO optics pro software, which is amazing, and I ditched the 18-105mm for the new, higher res 18-140mm. I also got a 50mm 1.8 AF-S G which, used on the D5200 produces frighteningly good quality.

    I’ve reached the point now where the resolution and image quality is way past what I need, capable of producing full frame prints of 30 x 40″ or cropped out prints of half that size, when compostion skills fail me :(

    I’ve attended a number of weddings as official photographer, and one or two as a normal guest. I forwarded a number of shots from one of these to be told that my images were ‘much better’ than the official photographer’s (who was using a D800) which is a wonderful thing to hear, especially from a family member.

    I’m happy, and unless Nikon come up with some compelling reason for me to change from the D5200 I will hold my position for the forseeable future – after all, the lenses I have invested in, primarily as a hobby photographer, have taken resources from other things, so to change for the sake of it, now, would be foolish. I did my gear juggling while moving between the D5000 – 5100 – 5200 but at least the costs were quite modest, and I retained most of the original lenses.

    Anyone shooting DX by the way, in need of a wide to medium telephoto, should 100% get the 18-140mm.

    Quite a journey for me then, and quite a long time getting there, but, sometimes, as they say, the journey is often better than the destination, so don’t overthink gear, just make sure what you have, is what you need, and enjoy using it.

    • 4.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 4:01 am

      Hello Autofocusross….

      Thanks very much for sharing your story. The D5200 is a great DX body and from what I’ve read the 18-140 is a really good, sharp lens. I imagine that combination produces some really wonderful results for you.

      The intent of my article was not to dismiss all DX bodies….and if you got that impression then apologies are in order.

      I really enjoyed my D7000 and it did a wonderful job for me during the time I owned one. I still think it is one of the best DX bodies Nikon has ever made.

      The point I was trying to make (and it appears not as well as I could have) was that I transitioned out of the D7000 and my DX kit because my business moved very strongly into video production and none of the DX bodies available at the time had the level of external, manual video controls that I needed for my business.

      Switching in and out of live view constantly when shooting a video project is a huge time waster for me and can chew up an additional couple of minutes for each scene being shot. While that may not sound like much, when I’m shooting 50-75 scenes in a day or more….I can potentially waste a couple of valuable hours of shooting time having to go back and forth in live view to change aperture settings. It is a silly restriction that Nikon was putting on most of its DSLRs. I don’t know if that is still the case with the D5300, D7100 and other newer DX bodies or not.

      For the vast majority of DSLR owners Nikon DX bodies do a great job for them and there’s no reason to change….especially if they are primarily doing still photography.

      It was a different story for me in terms of using my gear to make a living shooting video. As my equipment needs changed, the DX bodies available at the time just didn’t give me the key features I needed to work efficiently for my clients. So I sold the ‘old tools’ and bought the ‘new tools’ I needed.

      I am now fully committed to an FX/CX shooting combination for all of my video work and that is starting to impact other investments that I am making in my business. For example, the small size and light weight of the Nikon 1 V2 means I can use a more compact, lighter weight jib, and I can now consider using ultra-lightweight tripods that pack up into incredibly small packages that weigh under a pound and set up in a few seconds. That means I can save time and money every time I do a video shoot set up.

      None of us knows where technology will lead us. I can envision the day….perhaps in just a couple of years from now…that my D800 will only be used for still photography and I’ll be doing all of my video work with 3 or 4 Nikon 1 V-series cameras all linked and controlled by WiFi.

      • 4.1.1) AutofocusRoss
        April 7, 2014 at 5:08 am

        Hi Thomas, you focussed on my first sentence and that was not my intention at all. The other 99.99% of my post described my ‘journey’ into and through photography, that was my real intent.

        As to your choices of equipment, well, that’s always a personal matter. I know the D800 is capable of stunning results but then – so are all the 24Mpix cameras, FX or DX, in the Nikon range. The big difference is that the FX in it’s present incarnation viz D800 will permit that quality to be ENLARGED which, to a pro photographer, is very important, so your point is well made – regarding still photography anyway.

        What I find a little baffling, is that, if you are gaining success as a pro photographer, and a greater proprortion of your work is actually NOT still photography at all, why would you use a DSLR of such high cost (and of course quality) for this work, when there must be dozens of high end dedicated video cameras around now, for less money.

        From a pro perspective, if the D800 packs up on you, or worse, gets damaged or stolen, not only do you lose your stills camera, but also your video camera, and if it’s out of warranty it could mean a couple of weeks in the shop, and a hefty repair bill.

        Surely having a dedicated video camera would serve your business needs better, as, if it were lost, damaged or stolen, or failed, the replacement cost would be more acceptable?

        I, as, mostlly anyway, a hobby / amatuer photographer now, approached a DSLR purchase as a purchase of a stills camera. That it ‘can’ shoot video, well, that’s fine, but, in the past year, I have used the video feature just once. Where it scores well is stills photography, and, being totally honest, if I could justify the cost of the D800 I might be tempted – but – and its a big but – I count the number of very large enlargements I have made over the years and have to question why – why would I want an FX if I am hitting 20 x 30″ or 30 x 40″ enlargements at the very most?

        This is why, now I am on a 24Mpix camera, my equipment journey, if it continues, will be on improving the lenses I now use. I note that Nikon are releasing ‘lens upgrades’ to common models, and this is because the higher res DX bodies are showing up the existing lineup as not being as sharp as they could be.

        I am puzzled over the use of a DSLR for video, on a business basis, when wear and tear on the D800, plus the more convienient design of dedicated high end video cameras would seem, to me at least, the way to go?

        What am I missing?

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 7, 2014 at 9:58 am

          Hello Autofocusross,

          I found it interesting that your passion for photography went through various periods of inactivity and then something would happen to rekindle it for you. It was the same for me. Your journey started about 10 years before mine though. The Victor Blackman advice was well taken too…only buy as much capability as you really need. :) it is something I have to remind myself of from time to time…..or at least so my wife tells me!

          Since you were a Canon shooter originally, did you look at any Canon models before you bought the D5000 or did that one article cause you to become focused on that one Nikon body? What was it about that body/lens combination that won you over?

          It is also interesting that you have DxOMark software (Optics Pro I assume). I also use this software quite a bit and I find it very useful indeed. If it had plug-ins for Nik and Topaz I’d use it even more than I do now.


          • AutofocusRoss
            April 7, 2014 at 12:53 pm

            Hi Tom, thanks for revisiting the topic. When my search for a DSLR began, rekindled in approx 2009 – poor Victor Blackman had long since passed. However, HE was a Canon man, and his enthusiasm got me into the SLR Canon A1.

            When my DSLR search got under way, there seemed at the time to be common agreement that Nikon lenses were better. As I was raw to the medium, I took that on board and it seemed the Nikon’s of the moment were constantly getting better reviews than anything else, including Canon. I was sad at that, my Canon saw me through some great moments, but everything changes… so I got closer to the idea of Nikon, and then it was a case of reading reviews, looking at flicker and pixel peeper, and narrowing it to what I thought I needed, and what my budget was for it.

            I did particularly want the tilt/flip lcd as I am very keen on macro, and that feature is gold dust for macro. Other than that, I was open (but only the D5000 had that feature at the time) of course the D5200 has it too, only better with the hinge on the side not on the bottom of the camera.

            Yes it is Optics Pro 9, and it’s great for noise and distortion correction, as you know. I tend to run my images through it, if only for those features (though often other things too) and then output as a tif, which I then put through photoshop if I need a particular filter etc.

            Best regards,


            • Thomas Stirr
              April 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

              Hi Ross,

              I also run a lot of files through DxOMark and take advantage of is distortion correction and then output a tiff for further processing. I also like the ‘sharpen fine detail’ pre-set…I don’t use a lot of pre-sets normally but that one does a very good job. Do you find that certain types of shots respond better to DxOMark than others? I often find that bird images taken in less-than-ideal conditions i.e. cloudy day, often respond very nicely in DxOMark for some reason….and not nearly as well in CS6….of course that could just be my skill level!


            • autofocusross
              April 8, 2014 at 1:27 am

              Hi Tom, yes I love Opticspro9 it is particularly useful for me as Nikon have (even now, months after releasing the products) failed to supply an in-camera distortion correction for my lovely 18-140mm lens. Of all the zooms I have owned it is the sharpest and provides great contrast and accurate colour, as long as some idiot (me) remembers to set the white balance in the camera correctly. For this reason alone OpticsPro is essential as it has a module for ‘D5200 with 18-140mm Nikor lens’ and the barrel distortion is magically corrected. Of course I could do this in ACR by manually moving the perspective slider, but its so accurate in optics pro, why bother with acr anyway.

              It’s interesting that you mention bird shots / cloudy days as being the most effective kind of image for optics pro to process. I agree. I find any relatively low contrast, flatly lit scene, including vegetation, trees, or a mass of pebbles on a beach etc come alive with Optics Pro. It is far more adept at improving the impact of a shot while not going beyond acceptable limits. I don’t benefit from the noise filter as much as many people would, including the new ‘prime’ noise feature. This is because I am an old fashioned dude and it takes a passer by with a horsewhip to persuade me to move my iso higher than 100. I would rather develop a double hernia carrying my trusty Giottos tripod to the scene than shoot higher iso!

              As you say, the sharpening tools provide great flexibility while not introducing much noise (there are two of them in optics pro 9, have you found the ‘DXO Lens Softness’ tool, it is right at the bottom of the tool panel, in the customize view – rather than the organise view).

              Very occasionally, I have used these to the point where some noise, at high magnification, is visible, and it is at that point that I involve the ‘noise’ and the ‘prime’ features, to reduce or eliminate the problem.

              What I absolutely adore about optics pro, is that they constantly add and update new products and the program gives you an update nudge every time one is added – free updates of course! My new lens was already supported when I first purchased it.. optics pro recognised the lens from the exif data, and downloaded the right module for it.

              What a stark contrast (no pun intended) to Adobe with the pathetic ACR management – get a new camera, then you have to buy a new copy of Photoshop simply so you can use it to process the new images – worse now, you have to subscribe to a monthly fee and never get to own the software – I didn’t fall for it, I use optics pro – tiff – acr – photoshop, or ‘DNG converter’ – ACR – photoshop – if I only want to use photoshop on a particular image.

              I think Adobe are going to lose thousands of customers – the price of complacency.

            • Thomas Stirr
              April 8, 2014 at 2:45 am

              Hi Ross,

              I have OpticsPro 8…..I’ve been searching through the Customize tools selection and I don’t see the ‘DXO Lens Softness’ tool that you mentioned. This may be an upgrade to the software. Hmmm….maybe I should consider buying an updated copy to get this feature. I’d love to learn more about how you use OpticsPro 9 and see what else I am missing!

              I agree that DXO does a wonderful job updating the camera/lens combinations while Adobe is simply terrible. One of the reasons that I originally bought OpticsPro 8 was that I didn’t want to get trapped into Adobe’s ‘cloud’ game with monthly fees.

              I took some nice shots while in St. Lucia and I was playing around with them one day to see what OpticsPro 8 would do. I had a wide angle shot of a small harbor town taken from a boat and there was a tiny sign on a shop that was not legible even blowing up my D800 file to 100% on screen. One click with the OpticsPro detail sharpener and the name of the business magically appeared….simply awesome software!

            • AutofocusRoss
              April 8, 2014 at 3:31 am

              Hi Tom, I bought Optics Pro for the first time three months ago, after a one month free trial – at which point we were already on version 9.

              As you know, the standard version won’t work with the D800 you have to pay a bit more for the elite version (is that what they call it?).

              It could be two reasons you have no ‘lens softness’ tool. First of course, maybe it didn’t exist in version 8. The second thing, which I noticed using version 9, is if you open a Jpeg or even a Tiff (I think a tiff too) and go into customise view, not all the tools are visible (if you open a NEF – RAW file all the tools ARE visible).

              Maybe its just your version, but if you are working on Jpegs or Tiffs, maybe it is that too.

              Can’t think of anything else that would subdue menu items.

            • Thomas Stirr
              April 8, 2014 at 3:49 am

              Hi Ross,

              I was working with NEF files so it must be a difference between version 8 and 9 with OpticsPro…..I have the Elite version.


        • Thomas Stirr
          April 7, 2014 at 10:03 am

          Hi Autofocusross,

          To further answer your questions about DSLR vs pro video camera:

          I should have explained that even though the majority of my revenue is from video work (about 70/30 right now), I do shoot quite a few stills and incorporate them into client video productions. For example, I did a 2-day safety video shoot in late March and I took close to 75 stills for the project as well as over 100 video clips. Often with industrial clients I’m doing product introductions, corporate videos, training videos, or safety videos, so having an excellent stills camera is required as stills are almost always incorporated in the video assembly. The dual duty of the D800 is perfect for my needs.

          As far as professional video cameras go, a lot of the less expensive ones do not have interchangeable lenses and they tend to have fairly small sensors so they don’t offer the shallow depth-of-field of an FX body or the flexibility of a DSLR/ILC system. I haven’t kept up with advancements in this genre of camera, but the stills performance was typically non-existent or fairly poor compared to my D800.

          For those video cameras that do have interchangeable lenses the costs can be astronomical where a single ‘cine’ lenses can run $10,000 or more, and a basic set of 5 ‘cine’ primes can run $20,000. By comparison the 4 FX primes that I use (28 f/1.8, 50 f/1.8, 85 f/1.8, 105 micro f/2.8) cost under $2,500 in total. The video bodies in this category are much more expensive than a D800, and are large and heavy which also means they require much heavier tripods, fluid heads, sliders, jibs, etc. So if I went in this direction I would also have to change thousands of dollars in related gear, and likely need some crew to assist with set up as well.

          My entire photography/video system was built around being able to be fast, focused and flexible. I do not shoot with any crew so I can keep my costs down for my clients. Everything I buy needs to be able to be used within an overall 17.8 lb. tripod weight limit. As I get more into using the Nikon 1 V-series it is allowing me to look at ultra light-weight gear which will make my kit even smaller and lighter to carry. Right now I can pack up all my camera gear, three tripods, video fluid head, tripod heads, jib, slider, follow focus, camera stabilizer, skater dolly, light stands, green screen, mics, and 2 large studio lights in the back of a small hatchback. Once I arrive on-site I can be set up and ready to shoot in less than 1/2 hour tops.

          There are some interesting advancements with pro video cameras happening like the Black Magic series. I did have a serious look at these cameras since they are affordable, reasonably small and use 4/3 lenses. Overall the video quality would be a bit better than what I am shooting with now in terms of dynamic range, but I’d have to invest in another complete set of lenses….this time 4/3. They don’t have any stills capability so I would still need a good stills camera for my work. So the D800 is still my best overall solution.

          As far as breakdowns or possible theft goes…it’s a risk every photographer or videographer faces. If my D800 needed repair or was stolen I could easily rent another one and any lenses I needed to handle a specific project in the short term.


          • autofocusross
            April 8, 2014 at 1:33 am

            Hi Tom, it all makes a lot more sense now, thanks for the detailed explanation.

            I wonder if the technology is converging from the video camera end of the equation, how long will it be before a very high resolution (rivaling the D800) still image can be shot with a video camera, rather than a ‘still’ from a movie, that is.

            You must be very fit / have an assistant / a huge camera bag – to be toting that lot of gear around. I find it hard going with one body, four lenses in total, and a tripod. Of course, on a pro shoot you are more inclined to take everything along, as you never know what might be needed, and it’s no use to you if it’s sitting on a shelf in your studio!

            Best regards, Ross

            • Thomas Stirr
              April 8, 2014 at 2:06 am

              Hi Ross,

              I think you’re right that there will be a convergence with video cameras being able to shoot high quality stills.

              Well….not sure if ‘fit’ is the right word…I think the key is to buy lightweight gear so its small and easy to transport. For example my jib, when extended gives me 72″ of total camera movement, yet it folds up to only 27″ and is 5 lbs. in weight and fits in the same bag as my slider.


  5. April 7, 2014 at 3:26 am

    I recently sold my D800 and my 24-70 f2.8 lens. I kept my D7100 and all my other Nikon lenses, especially the long lenses for wildlife. Why did I sell what has become A Nikon icon?

    Some months ago I was planing a holiday to Norway and Iceland and became aware that the D800for everyday shooting etc. was becoming somewhat of a burden in terms of weight. I needed a lighter weight option and my wife needed to share a camera with a viewfinder. I explored the market and in the end after hands on testing I bought the Fuji X-E2 + 18-55mm kit. From that day on everything in my world of photography changed.

    I suddenly had in my hands a mirrorless camera that was ticking so many boxes, some of which I had previously been very dubious about. Like the EVF, always suspicious but here we had something I could work with. The ability to see exactly what the result would be through the viewfinder and adjust the exposure by rotating the aperture ring and even a glimpse of the histogram! Without any experience the ownership of the camera became a debate between my wife and I. Now, my wife is new to photography a real novice. Yet, she’s joined our photographic society because she now had a camera which with little knowledge did as it was told. She had a 2nd, 3rd and two highly commended places in 4 months! For three months my D800 stayed in the cupboard.

    In March I visited the UK Photography Show and got to play with the new Fuji X-T1, I left with one too! The EVF blew me away, better even than the X-E2. So, where am I now.

    Last week I sold my D800 + 24-70mm to a friend. I now have both Fuji’s, 2x 18-55mm, 18mm, 60mm, 55-200mm and now the new 10-24mm f4. I would never have ever thought I’d swop FX for DX, perhaps the other way round, but not this way. So how do I feel now? Well, my truly excellent D7100, or as I call it, my D800E lite, with it’s long lenses for wildlife is my camera of choice for that genre. Fuji and no other mirrorless offerings have yet managed to provide a camera that does what a wildlife photographer needs. The EVF lag is a nuisance, the ability for 3D predictive tracking is not there, so the DSLR remains the winner there and I am hoping to buy the AF-S 80-400mm soon. Because of neck pain I shoot wildlife with a tripod/monopod.

    So, you see I haven’t left the ship totally and believe it’s horses for courses. I honestly believe that my Fuji kit gives me everything my D800 did and in many ways more. My neck’s stopped aching too. I took some wedding photo’s with the X-T1 and X-E2 recently. If you would like to take a look at my photostream click you can see many of my Fuji X images including the wedding.

    If readers do not believe that a mirrorless camera can be that good, then get to try one and be surprised, very surprised :-)


    • 5.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 4:38 am

      Hi Richard,

      Thanks for your post and sharing your images. I really like how you used the position the stone bridge and some of the mountain/valley roads to draw viewers in to your images. I think my favourite is the two story house covered in what looks like fall-coloured ivy with the stone bridge leading to it. It looks like the ideal B&B!

      Interesting to read that you sold your D800 and went mirrorless. Trey Ratcliff (of HDR fame) also did that recently…although I think he moved from Nikon to Sony.

      The advancements with mirrorless cameras has been quite astounding the past few years, and I can see more people making the switch, especially when bulk and weight become issues for them.

      Deciding what camera to buy, or keep, is really dependent on our individual needs. Moving from FX to DX and adding mirrorless seems to be working well for you.



      • 5.1.1) Sam Hardik
        April 7, 2014 at 8:56 am

        I have did reverse way. I got Nikon D5200 then moved to D600 FX then D800 and I finally got X-T1.

        w.r.t. weight X-T1 wins but after using D800, I dont think I will use any other camera’s like X-T1. for point and shoot I do use X100s but somehow I didnt like X-T1 because its completely useless as most of the back buttons are not reachable. Auto focus is good but not good as D5200 or any nikon cameras if you have Active toddlers.

        I am back to Nikon.

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 7, 2014 at 2:46 pm

          Hi Sam,

          That’s quite a journey you’ll been on! Sometimes experimenting with various cameras helps to confirm the best one for our needs.


  6. 6) Kelly Bonds
    April 7, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I know this could be a whole separate post, but what computer gear are you using to process images? The choices available are huge and as you change gear, your existing setup gets challenged.

    • 6.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 11:07 am

      Hi Kelly,

      When I first started out I was using a well-spec’d Samsung laptop with an I5 processor (at least I thought it was well spec’d…LOL). It didn’t take me too long to figure out that I would need a lot more horsepower and way more storage capacity if the video part of my business increased substantially. Shooting video can chew up hard-drive space in a hurry and I initially cobbled together a number of USB 1TB external hard-drives to hold old files, but that was only a temporary fix. Plus the rendering time on video projects was very slow. In retrospect I waited too long to upgrade my computer system, but I wanted to make sure the business volume was sustainable before I made the investment.

      My son who is in the IT business custom built me a desktop computer to handle my video needs. In order to give you accurate information I dug back to find the original component purchase receipt. I gave him a $2000 budget to work with and I went with his recommendations.

      Here’s what my custom desktop system has inside:
      Intel i5-3570 Quad-Core, 3.4Ghz, 6MB cache chipset
      Asus PBZ77-V motherboard
      2 – Western Digital Green 3 TB SATA3 6gb hard-drives (in RAID-1 config)
      NOTE: these filled up pretty quickly so I have since added another
      2 – Western Digital Green 4 TB hard-drives (in RAID-1 config)
      EVGA GeForce GTX 560 graphics card
      Corsair 750W power supply
      Corsair Hydro Series H100 CPU cooler
      Windows 7 Professional
      Agility 3 2.5″ 240 SATA 6 GB solid state hard-drive
      Pioneer BDR-207 Blue-Ray writer
      16 gb Kingston 1600Mhz DDR3 RAM

      All of my computer programs run through the solid state hard-drive. I have a total of 16 TB of storage (all in RAID1 configs so I have 8 TB main, with 8 TB backup) on my system. I still had a couple of 1 TB external hard-drives that were in good shape and working well so those are in a separate 2-bay network box running in RAID1. To make room on my main system all holiday pics etc. and non-business stuff have been moved to those drives.

      Client files are on the 3TB and 4TB drives…each pair is running in RAID1. As mentioned earlier, the 4TB drives were added within the last 6 months or so as the original 3TB filled up pretty quickly (even with a lot of ongoing deletion of unneeded files). Once the new 4TB drives get close to filling I’ll likely add a 4-bay network box to the overall system to store old client files and put 4 more 4 TB hard-drives in my main system. That will give me a total of 32 TB of storage space, again half with ‘original’ files and half as back-up. I may upgrade the graphics card at some point.

      Overall I’ve been happy with the system. It is pretty quick and I’d say overall rendering time has been cut by at least 75% over using my old laptop. My most recent project was a quite complex 22-minute safety video. I don’t remember the exact time…but it took less than an hour to render.

      Hope this has helped.


    • 6.2) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Hi Kelly,

      I started out with what I thought was a well-spec’d Samsung i5 laptop. Probably 4 gb of RAM and a 750 hard-drive. Well, it didn’t take long to figure out that wasn’t going to cut it in the long term. I initially cobbled together some 1 TB external hard-drives to deal with storage issues but that was only temporary.

      My son who is in IT custom build a desktop system for me. I went back and dug out the original component bills so I could give you more details:

      Intel i5-3570 Quad-Core chipset, 3.4 Ghz 6MB L3 cache
      Asus PBZ77-V motherboard
      16 gb Kingston 1600 Mhz DDR3 RAM
      EVGA GeForce TGX 560 graphics card
      Corsair 750 W power supply
      Corsair Hydro Series H100 CPU cooler
      Windows 7 Professional, 64-bit
      OCZ Agility 3 240 GB solid state hard-drive
      Pioneer BDR-207 Blue-Ray writer
      2 – Western Digital Green 3 TB hard-drives
      NOTE: these filled up pretty quickly so about 6 months ago I added
      2 – Western Digital Green 4 TB hard-drives

      All of my programs run on the solid state drive for maximum speed. All client files are on the two 3TB and the two 4 TB WD hard-drives. They are configured in RAID1 so I actually have 7 TB of client storage with another 7 TB as automatic back-up. I had two 1 TB external hard-drives that were still in good shape, so those have been put in a 2-day shared network box, configured in RAID1 and hold all non-business stuff.

      As my 4 TB drives get close to filling the plan is to then add another 4-bay shared network box to house them, and add four more 4 TB hard-drives to my desk top system. That will eventually give me 15 TB of client storage and another 15 TB of back up.

      Overall I’ve been very happy with the system. Rendering time has been reduced by at least 75% from using the laptop. My most recent project was a very complex 22 minute safety video shot in 1080 HD in 30p. I don’t remember the exact time, but it rendered in less than an hour which I thought was very good.

      Hope this has helped.


  7. April 7, 2014 at 5:11 am

    Thanks Thomas. I am glad you enjoyed the images. I must admit some however were pre Fuji, like the fall-coloured ivy with the stone bridge leading to it. That was the D800. All images before that were Fuji. You are so right, shooting images is very much a question of individual needs. 6 months ago I could never have envisaged owning anything other than Nikon’s. Another guy who sold all his Nikon gear including D3S etc is professional photographer Matt Hart. A B&W shooter, his galleries are worth a look. Interestingly, we both buy our kit from the same camera shop.


    • 7.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Hi Richard,

      Choosing gear is a ‘heart and head’ combination decision. Sometimes having a strong brand affinity can limit us from choosing the best gear for our needs.

      When I was in the thick of my D600 problems I can tell you that the Panasonic GH3 was looking really tempting….but at that point I had so much invested in Nikon glass I just couldn’t justify the added cost and hassle switching over. As it turned out the GH3 was a better all-round camera than the GH2…but it had more moire so that may not have been the best choice for me anyway.

      I haven’t done any black and white work…but I must say it intrigues me to explore this a bit more after seeing you images and some of Matt Hart’s. Right now most of my experimentation is with ‘photo art’ which I am very much enjoying.


      • 7.1.1) Richard
        April 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        I’m not sure it was so much a head over heart decision for me, but perhaps a desire to explore a new system, the driver being weight. I did have the Nikon V1, with a few lenses and the FT-1 AF-S lens adaptor, however I found that a bit of a gimmick. The V is not a system that people who want to get into CSC should consider in my view. Perhaps the new V3 is a different beast. However, there are new kids on the block and Fuji is one. After dipping my toe in the water I could see the potential for me.

        I have retained my D7100 + 50mm, 16-35mm, 28-300mm, 70-200mm, 70-300mm, 300mm f4 and my Sigma 105mm Macro OS. I suppose that’s more Nikon kit than many have. I intend to buy the AF-S 80-400mm in a few months. I am not making such a rash decision as many are nowadays as they seem to wear the “I’ve completely dumped my Nikon/Canon etc. gear as a badge of honour!

        I am still very much into my Nikon’s, but they do a very different job. If Fuji ever design a mirrorless that can equal the capabilities of a traditional dSLR, then that will be the day I’ll say goodbye to my Nikon’s.

        For now, I like the balance of traditional with the newness of mirrorless.


        • Thomas Stirr
          April 7, 2014 at 4:00 pm

          Hi Richard,

          You have a nice selection of lenses…I also have the 16-35 and love it. My 50mm is the f/1.8G which is an excellent lens for not much money. A good friend of mine has the 28-300 and he finds it to be a great ‘all-purpose’ lens….often the only lens he takes on holiday.

          Wondering if you have looked at Panasonic at all. The brand is starting to get a decent selection of lenses and some of them like the 12-35 f/2.8 and the 35-100 f/2.8 are very high quality from what I’ve read. The bulk of the lenses are zooms with some interesting primes mixed in. The GH4 is pricey is considered Panasonic’s ‘pro’ body by many folks.

          I had a chance to shoot a little bit with the 80-400 on a D7100 and the focusing was really fast and accurate….and I’ve heard from some birders that it is a great lens. Have you thought about the Tamron 150-600 VC? The Canon mount version has been getting some very good write ups. The Nikon mount won’t be out for a while yet. I will be getting one to test for a pending review that I’ll be doing here on Photography Life.


          • Richard
            April 7, 2014 at 4:25 pm

            Thanks Thom. I’ve been reading about the Tamron and until a few months ago I had the excellent Sigma 50-500mm OS. Like the Tamron, it weighed the same. The Nikon AF-S 80-400mm is slightly lighter and of course better appointed than the Sigma’s, although the Sigma was no slouch. I will however look forward to your review of the Tamron.


  8. 8) RWP
    April 7, 2014 at 6:53 am

    I absolutely loved my D7000 with the pro 17-55mm lens, but carrying this excellent kit everywhere on trips and sites proved cumbersome, which meant it did not come along with me all the time and that I missed some good opportunities.

    A good share of my work is indoors and often in low light, with outdoor work and some tele not far behind. But, not taking the D7000 and the wonderful 17-55mm most of the time left me wanting.

    After reading everything about the Fuji X100S, I bought it and sold the D7000 and 17-55mm, knowing what I was doing was an interim step to something else. For the indoor work, and a good deal of outdoor shots, this is a fantastic camera, and so portable that there are no regrets carrying it around all day. After six months, I am still happy with my decision. And, I am mostly content until I decide on a mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses.

    Enter Fuji’s X-T1, so that is a real possibility…but the mis-timing on the release of weather-sealed lenses was a big mistake. Still I just may go for it and shoot with a fixed prime until the zooms are out later this year. While the X100S has been excellent in low light, my real want is a full frame mirrorless camera and lenses that are razor sharp for a lot of the detailed work I do (antiques, room shots, dec arts and architecture). Yes, I am looking at the Sony 7/7R, but lens selection is a limiting factor and I avoid “adapters.” Fuji will do a better job with native lenses and hopefully will not go crazy with pixels. My view: max is 16MP for APS-C and 24MP for full frame.

    • 8.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      Hi RWP,

      I think more and more people are considering size and weight when they are buying cameras these days. And, technology is advancing so rapidly it is incredible what smaller sized mirror-less cameras can do.

      As it is often said, “The best camera is the one you have with you.” I’m hearing from more and more people that they want smaller, lighter cameras so they can capture moments and unexpected scenes as they occur.

      I took my D800 and three FX zooms to New Zealand last year, along with my Nikon 1 V2 and some 1 Nikon lenses. If the Nikon 1 had better dynamic range and colour depth I would have been comfortable leaving the D800 at home. Slugging 15 pounds around in a shoulder bag was very tiring…but at least I came back from holidays a few pounds lighter as a result.


      • 8.1.1) RWP
        April 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Totally agree with the points in your first para. I follow six sites at least, and my conclusion is that even the pros want the “smaller and lighter” to happen even more quickly. Just when I was doubting the practicality of the D7000, along came the X100S. It has gotten rave reviews, as everyone knows, though some shots outdoors in bright light often produce a weak pallet that never occurred with my D7000. Fixable, yes.

        I think where I am headed is toward the Fuji X-T1 when the weather-sealed lenses finally make their debut and are reviewed; I am expecting wonders, based on Fuji’s response with the X100S and its commitment to X-mount lenses. That still does not get me full frame and a really fast lens, however.

        My first SLR, Nikon F, was so simple: the materials and mechanics were the best and (most of) the glass was simply wonderful with the Kodachrome II…Iceland never looked so beautiful in 1970. Today, while the processing is easier, the buying of the camera is more difficult. I thought Nikon’s Df would satisfy me, and my old glass, but a hands-on session did not produce the magic I felt in 1970. No, today the magic will go to the company that first nails the mirrorless, weather-sealed, full frame camera that is razor sharp, focuses fast, has excellent color saturation, and works well in low light.

    • 8.2) Colin
      April 9, 2014 at 3:36 am

      “After reading everything about the Fuji X100S, I bought it and sold the D7000 and 17-55mm”

      I understand the move towards smaller CSCs but feel that sometimes DSLRs get a bad rap on the size/weight front because people always seem to assume that they have to be accompanied by large zooms. In this case you are comparing apples and oranges since the X100 has a 35mm lens and the D7000 has a big 17-55mm. A fair comparison would be to compare the d7000 plus 20mm (30mm equivalent) with the X100. The size disparity would still be there but would be much less. A D7000 with 20/35/50 primes (30/52/75 equivalent) is really not so bulky. Anyway, horses for courses. I’m off on a family trip to London this week and I’ll just be taking the V1 with 2 or 3 lenses so I’m by no means anti-mirrorless!!!

      • 8.2.1) RWP
        April 9, 2014 at 5:27 am

        Not really “apples and oranges,” but I should have been more clear. Recall that I also said I am probably headed toward the X-T1, which would provide the tele equipment not covered by X100S (for antiques, dec arts, rooms, and architecture/outdoors). Indeed, the X100S is an interim camera, though the post-shoot quality it produces has allowed me NOT to miss the tele so much, and it is always with me…always, with no weight/size regrets.

        The D7000 and 17-55mm f2.8 were great for my needs (though heavy/bulky) but it was not in my hands as often as it should have been. A D7000 with the three primes you mentioned is still quite a haul.

        I like primes for all the good reasons we know, but I tend to look for a fast zoom to avoid carrying all the primes. Maybe what I end up with is the X100S AND the X-T1 with one of those weather-sealed, relatively fast zooms coming later this year.

        Here is a challenge: Take your V1 and one WA prime on your London trip and I will bet that you will not miss the others, and you will be less equipment-focused.

        • Colin
          April 9, 2014 at 8:46 am

          Hmmm…”less equipment focused.” Not sure what it was about my comment that led you to jump to the conclusion that I’m equipment focused, but anyway.

          My point was simply that there often seems to be an assumption that owning a DSLR condemns you to carrying 2 or even 3 large zooms as well which of course makes for a heavy kit. I guess it’s a matter of opinion but I don’t find a D7000 and the 20/35/50 primes very onerous in the weight department. The XT-1 looks like a very nice camera but I suspect a body and equivalent lenses wouldn’t be meaningfully lighter than the D7000 gear (not to mention significantly more expensive). I’ve nothing against mirrorless at all, just trying to balance some to the hype that seems to be associated with them at the moment.

          • RWP
            April 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

            Re “less equipment-focused,” no jab intended, but only to say that one camera and one WA lens (35mm equivalent would be my take-along) may be an unexpected and very positive experience. Whatever you decide to do–one lens or three–would love to see any posts of your shots.

            In my Nikon F days, I carried many more lenses than what I now know I need, particularly when traveling for fun. Post-shoot processing today, and high MPs, has made the option of just one lens easier.

            Agree that the hype on mirrorless is a bit ahead of all round solid performance. Just a few days ago I see where Sony released news of the a7s, which may be more for video enthusiasts than still photographers…too bad. My bet on full-frame, robust still photography down the road, is on Fuji (best commitment to improving design and making excellent glass), Samsung (best innovators and intent on getting new things right…it could surprise us overnight), and Nikon (best capability and deep commitment to glass and systems, but has to decide if mirrorless will be as important at the top-end of the market as DSLR’s). Olympus and Canon are more than in the game too, of course. Some of these may turn to the Sony sensor while Sony continues to contemplate the lens question.

  9. 9) Jay Noe
    April 7, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Hi Thomas,
    Very good article and helpful for me to see your considerations. I am an advanced amateur and shoot only for fun. But I would say being an ex-engineer I may be called a gear-head. I do not and do not plan to shoot video…..stills are hard enough! All this said I would like to share a few thoughts with you and others.

    I currently shoot a D600 (hopefully the sensor is finally fixed-I’ve has two replacements), 1V1, 1j1 and D300 (IR). I have pro zooms from 11-200mm f/2.8, 300mm f/4, a full assortment of the excellent Ais manual glass, and finally for the Nikon 1 an FT-1 and a few 1 Nikon lenses. I shoot RAW 100%, print nothing and all pics go to the web at max size of 2000pix on the longest side.

    What I like….for anything not moving when weight is not a problem is the D600 with the Ais Manual Glass….If weight is a problem and light is not; for example when hiking I take the 1V1 or 1J1 with 1 Nikon lenses (J1 for small amount of flash fill light, V1 for natural light and things moving).

    For shooting moving things like grand children or the dog the D600 is my choice, though I miss the better focusing of the D300. My favorite lens is the 70-200mm f/2.8….If I need reach and things are not too fast and I have light I put the 1V1 on this lens or even better the 300mm f/4. Down sampling to the 1600-2000 pix size it is very difficult to see the difference between D600 and 1V pictures in a good light situation.

    Other comments. I do not want to deal with the large file sizes of the D800 for my environment and miss the speed, focusing capability and deep buffer of the D300. I am sure the D800 in DX mode would be excellent for speed and reach with moving things. But why obsolete my D600. Over the next few months I will pick up a D700, D7100 or if the rumored D9300 is real maybe one of these.

    Finally I must comment on the 1V series. For point and shoot snapshots when hiking or at a party these are excellent cameras. The automatic exposure control in tough lighting is as good as I have experienced in a camera. After using this series for over 2 years I find myself enjoying using these cameras. A bit more dynamic range would be appreciated, but it is amazing how well this little sensor and its processor works in preserving detail in the shadows. Also they are excellent for extending the reach of good glass. A 1V1 with 300mm f/4 and Tc-17 is about 1350 in 35mm equivalence. This is a cheaper way to put quality pixels on a distant subject than using the big heavy and expensive glass.

    All of this said, I still find myself asking if it may be best to sell out and re-equip with the newer smaller gear. There is some good stuff out there and more on the way from several of the manufacturers. But it is really hard to think about parting with all that good Nikkor glass!

    • 9.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Jay,

      I’m glad you enjoyed the article. It looks like you have been on quite a journey yourself! The D600 is a wonderful camera and if you can get the shutter issue fixed you’ll likely enjoy it for many years to come. I loved shooting with mine. Great dynamic range and colour depth, and the low light performance was better than my D800. I think 24 mp on full frame is a real ‘sweet spot’ in terms of balancing quality and file size. I could have lived with the dust/oil for stills, but for video it rendered footage useless so I had to make a change.

      The file sizes on the D800 can be a challenge, not only from a processing standpoint but also filling up cards in a hurry. I usually used 16GB cards in my D7000….with the D800 its all 32 GB.

      I found the same thing with the V2 files in good light….they hold up very well indeed and its not until that images are shot over ISO800 that they start to be a challenge.

      My hope was that Nikon would use the 20mb Sony sensor in the V3 as the dynamic range and colour depth are far better than the Aptina sensor. I guess Nikon was going purely after speed. It makes me wonder if they may put the Sony 20mp sensor in the rumored J4 as a point of differentiation within the Nikon 1 line.

      There’s a lot of speculation about a possible D9300. It could very well be the update that D300 owners have been asking for.

      The 300mm with the 1.7 converter must be awesome on the V series! I’ve never tried one but I do use my 1.7 converter with my 70-200 f/4 on the V2 and like it very much indeed.


      • 9.1.1) Jay Noe
        April 7, 2014 at 4:34 pm

        The 300mm f/4 is noticeable sharper than the 70-200mm without a TC. The TC-17 and 300mm f/4 is very sharp. I think I have some comparisons in the archives. If I do I’ll post a link as a comment to this article.

        Yes above 800 iso in low light the Nikon 1 is challenged. That said with proper exposure I have some keepers approaching iso2000. Generally I feel the 1V sensor is about like the D300. I find the speed of the Nikon 1 just awesome. I can remember the old coolpixes other compacts just unusable so often because of the speed.

        Of course Nikon no longer has the speed market cornered in mirrorless. I have some old OM glass and I saw a retro OLY rumor the other day. In fact I still use the E620 mostly with my Nikon AIS glass for applications where I want the 4/3 format and need a tilting screen….like the undersides or mushrooms.

        We need more articles like this one as I am sure there are many folks trying to decide when to switch!

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 7, 2014 at 4:52 pm

          Hi Jay,

          Nasim did a review of the 300mm f/4 and raved about its sharpness and optical performance….which certainly supports your experience with the lens.

          Nikon has filed a patent for a new FX 300mm f/4 with a ‘diffraction surface’ and VR. The patent shows that the lens would be fairly compact 7.5″ long vs. the current 300mm f/4 which I think is just under 9″ long. This potential new lens sounds like it would be wickedly sharp…and the VR would extend its shooting capability quite a bit….and in a nice, small package. I think Nikon would have a real winner with that kind of lens.

          I really hope this rumored lens comes out soon….It would be a great option for people who want an affordable telephoto lens that could be used with tele-converters and still have a very high level of sharpness.

  10. 10) John
    April 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

    I dumped ALL of my expensive Nikon gear because of a tiny splash of water on the camera body, which totaled the circuitry. I opted for an Olympus OM-D EM-1, which at a mere 16MP resolution produces images that rival and many times even surpass that which I got on my Nikon D7100 at it boasty 24MP and chromatic aberration-prone lenses. Besides that, the Olympus is much smaller, lighter, and… it’s waterproof! Bye, Nikon!

    • 10.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

      Hi John,

      Sounds like you found yourself a winner. I hear lots of good things about Olympus.


  11. April 7, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Thomas,
    Excellent article as usual, and we can see from the comments that you touched a very sensitive point and created a good discussion
    I personally moved from D7000 to D600, also had the issues with the oil but had the shutted replaced by Nikon and now am happy. I also used the Fuji X100 (what a great camera) and bought the V1 when it was at $300 but did not really used it.
    With the recent announcement of the V3 my interest to the V1 started again and I am now using it more and found the combination with the D600 i very interesting.
    It really depends on what lenses you use on the v1. I checked the 24-85 kit lens, it is OK but nothing really special, but add the 58mm 1.4, you get a very bright, sharp ~170mm tele with a very small DOF, this is a killer combination. It reminded me how much lens matters more than camera.
    Combining the V1 with the D600 enables to take a sharp prime and double it. I can use the 58mm both as 58 and 170, I ordered the 105 and will get a ~300 also very sharp. And all this with very low weight.
    Yes, you don’t get the same quality than when using a FX camera, but you still get excellent and sharp images.
    In addition, i can also take the 6.7-13mm which is very small and also weights nothing, and I have a real wide angle. Think of it, v1+6.7-13mm vs. wide FX zoom + a prime tele. This really opened new possibilities for me.
    Kind regards,

    • 11.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 7, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      Hi Francois,

      Thanks very much for your kind words….much appreciated. I’ve also been playing around with various FX lenses on my V-series to see what works best. My absolute favourite for reach and sharpness is the 70-200 f/4….it is simply awesome on a V2….fast focusing and very sharp..and an efov of 540mm at f/4. I read that Thom Hogan has named this his number one recommendation for added reach.

      I also like the 85mm f/1.8 G…it provides an efov of 230mm at f/1.8! There is a bit of colour fringing with high contrast areas if you look for it…but overall an interesting combo. I have used this combination shooting the V2 at the zoo at indoor displays where the light is poor. As long as the subject isn’t moving much….like a spider or snake….it is a very handy combo.

      I also have the 6.7-13 Nikon 1 lens and I absolutely love it. I’ve been reading very positive reviews of the 32mm f/1.2 Nikon 1…have you tried that lens?

    • 11.2) Jay Noe
      April 7, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      You should see how well the 1V does with the Prime AIS lenses 50 f/1.4, 85 f1.2 and 105 f/4 all just excellent. I also find the old D70 kit lens 18-70 and the 70-300 f4.5-5.6 perform very well.

      • 11.2.1) Thomas Stirr
        April 7, 2014 at 4:55 pm

        Hi Jay,

        It would be great to have a place where V-series owners could post shots taken with the FT-1 adapter so we could share our experiences.


        • Francois
          April 8, 2014 at 5:14 pm

          Absolutely! this would be great
          I am currently Dublin with the v1 for work and will send the link to the photos I took with the v1

          To answer your questions, I did not order the 32, but i did order the 18.5. The reason is that I am less attracted currently by the 85mm focal, I already can use the 58mm on the D600 which makes it a good portrait solution, while the 50mm equivalent can be a good complement to my v1 kit (6.7-13, 18.5, 30-100) if I travel only with the v1. I did not get the 18.5 so I cannot judge it but I also read good reviews on it

          Re the 70-200, this is very interesting, but it is quite heavier and bulkier than my other lenses, i am waiting for your review of the new v1 70-300 lens :) certainly not the same quality, but the ability to focus on the full lens is quite important when you use ultra zoom + I am concerned that with the size and weight of the 70-200 I will not use it a lot

          Kind regards,

          • Francois
            April 9, 2014 at 6:09 pm

            Hi Thomas and all,

            I was on a business trip in Dublin and took with me the v1 with the 6.7-13 and the 58 1.4
            Please see the link of photos I took

            It is the first time I took only the v1 and i must say I am quite happy with it, battery life was good and the photos do have this film look that people are mentioning. Also, there is no way I would have brought with me a FX wide angle and tele, too heavy and bulky and I would have missed all those beach shots

            Please see more examples of the combination v1 + 58 1.4, it creates great macro opportunities

            Kind regards,

            • Thomas Stirr
              April 9, 2014 at 9:55 pm

              Hi Francois,

              I very much enjoyed your photos! One of your images….3rd row 2nd shot from the left, really reminded me of the northeast coast of the South Island in New Zealand.

              I also like your flower images. I’ll have to get off my rear and put a short piece together for Photography Life and share some of my ‘photo art’ flower images.


            • Francois
              April 10, 2014 at 2:25 am

              Thanks Thomas!
              Funny you say this, when I was taking some pictures from the plane, the man sitting next to me told me that the 2 best skies in the world are in Ireland and New Zealand. He was from Dublin so probably a bit biased :)
              looking forward to see your flower photos + maybe you can start this v1 photos site
              Also looking forward if you have any advice on PP for the v1
              Kind regards,

  12. 12) KnightPhoto
    April 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Very interesting to hear the thoughts of a professional video shooter. Like you I am a committed FX/CX guy. I am getting the V3 and Nikon 1 70-300. I’m an amateur that does some Theatre/Concert sales with my FX cameras, mostly stills, but the silent mode of my V1 saved my bacon on one Cello shoot where I couldn’t afford to disturb the audience. I used my Sigma 50mm and FT-1 and shot stills with the silent electronic shutter of the V1 and combined it with some D4 CX mode video which is excellent and sharp yet still handles low light like a dream. I love the 1-series when I’m going light for travel and wildlife. Oftentimes what I’ll do is use the big FX rigs all morning and then when lazing around in the afternoon I’ll go light with the 1-system. Or family travel is another big use for my 1-system.

    This year I plan to do a decent amount of wildlife video, so the V3 60p and 120p video sounds great. I’ll give it a go with my 500VR FT-1 and V3 for bird videos and have some fun see where that takes me.

    • 12.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 8, 2014 at 2:53 am

      Hello Knighthoto,

      Great to hear about your success with the Nikon 1 V-series….I think more Nikon DSLR shooters, especially FX body owners are finding that these small cameras are a great compliment to their kit.

      I’ve also been looking at the V3 and the 1 Nikon 70-300….it looks like a great combination for hand-held birding shots. I was checking with my Nikon dealer yesterday and they have already sold way more V3’s than they have coming in with their first order, so it looks like a lot of people are starting to wake up to the benefits of the V-series.

      Do you use a gimbal head to shoot your wildlife videos? If so, I’d love to know what you use and how you like it.


      • 12.1.1) KnightPhoto
        April 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

        Hi Thomas, yes a Jobu Design Black Magic gimbal head on a GT5541 Gitzo tripod. The only thing I find is a gimbal is fairly difficult to move smoothly during a shot. For smaller lenses I have a low end fluid head for panning.

        I also need to get busy and get a slider, love the slider look. And a Steady-Cam. Can you tell us how and for what you use a jib for?

        Thanks again, enjoyed the description of your experience.

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 8, 2014 at 9:27 am

          A jib is used to raise your camera up fairly high and can create very dramatic ‘opening shots’ for a scene sequence. Some jibs can get your camera up 10 feet or more for very dramatic shots. I recently added one to my kit….a Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler. I chose this jib because it is very compact, light and can be set up by one person in about a minute. It gives me about 72″ of camera movements, which for my work is adequate. Obviously larger jibs can create more dramatic shots…but weigh a lot more, take larger tripods to mount on, and often need more than one person to set up. I’ll be doing a review on the Kessler Pocket Jib Traveler for Photography Life within the next couple of weeks.

          There’s a number of camera sliders out there. Really think about your needs before you buy one. Consider the amount of slide you want to achieve, how much portability you need, smoothness of pulls, and whether you want a manual slider, one with a crank, or motorized. I use a Cinevate Atlas FLT 26″ slider. I chose it because of its small size, light weight, and smooth action due to its ball bearing construction. Again….a review will be coming in the next few weeks on it.

          As far as camera stabilizers go I would avoid the cheap 0nes out there. “Steady Cam” is a brand of camera stabilizer. I looked at a few camera stabilizers before I bought one. Some popular models are Steady Cam Merlin and Glidecam (a number of models). I use a CMR Blackbird. A steady cam is one piece of gear that you cannot expect to use well right after you assemble it. It takes quite a bit of practice…and they can be very tiring to use depending on the design as they can put a lot of strain on your wrist and arm. I haven’t used mine too much so I’m only ‘OK’ with operating it. This will be another product I’ll be reviewing in the next month or so…..I’ll need to practice a bit more and build up my arm strength for that one!

          Something else you may want to consider is a skater dolly. These can generate wonderful long angle smooth shots when used on smooth floors or table tops. I have a Konova KDS-2000 Skater Dolly that has produced some really nice shots for me. Since my regular slider is fairly small I developed a ‘clever cheat’ with my skater dolly when I need longer slides…..I use it with a piece of shelving. Again….a review will be coming within the next month.

          Hope this has helped.

          • KnightPhoto
            April 9, 2014 at 6:44 am

            Thanks Thomas for that fantastic amount of information! I began looking at those items last night already and plotting future purchases – looking forward to your upcoming reviews!

  13. 13) Phil
    April 14, 2014 at 12:20 am

    I’ve just switched to an FX/CX combo (D800/V1) after years of using an FX/DX combo as I’m experimenting with video. My DX system had really become my travel/ and leisure system since I bought a D700 5 years ago and have hardly ever used my D5100 as my backup camera for paid work since going full frame.

    Now I have a Nikon D800 and I’m starting to do video, so currently have V1 with ft adaptor + CX lenses 10mm f/2.8, 18.5mm f/1.8, 6.7-13mm and the 10-100mm power zoom. I’ll probably get the V3 but disappointed with some of the features as mentioned by others.

    I travel for much of my paid work so need a lightweight kit. I also wanted longer better depth of field for some video, an EVF camera for outdoor shooting, a wide angle capability and zoom capability.. Overall, the V1 (or soon-to-be V3) seems to fit the bill best.

    I now have a full, lightweight system for travel and compliments my D800, so my DX kit is a bit redundant and I’m not sure whether I’ll keep it.

    • 13.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 15, 2014 at 10:20 pm

      Hi Phil,

      I was also disappointed with some of the choices that Nikon made with the V3 (micro SD, new battery)…but after reviewing many of the positive video enhancements I bit the bullet, sold my beloved V2 last week and ordered a V3 (I’ll be doing a review on it here on Photography Life once I get my copy).

      I think the 10-30 PD zoom is going to be great for video, and the flip screen and touch screen focusing capability to do rack focusing of the V3 will be great features to add production value….as will being able to shoot 1080 in 60p and 720 in 120p.

      I’m thinking about adding a 10-100 PD zoom to my kit…how do you like using the one you have?

      I’ll be interested in knowing if you decide to keep your DX gear, or if you make the same decision that I did to sell it.


      • 13.1.1) KnightPhoto
        April 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm

        Tom, someone advised about this crazy deal on the 10-100PD for $249 at Henry’s, you may want to consider it:

        At that price it’s tough to say no. I’m on the fence as I’m unsure how much zooming I will be doing as I film (i.e. during the clip) – any thoughts or guidance on that?

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 16, 2014 at 5:20 am

          Hi KnightPhoto…..

          Great minds think alike! I had stumbled on that deal last night after 6pm…and I left a message at a local Henry’s store that is listed as having stock. I have no idea if they do or not, but if I can pick one up today I certainly will at that price….this lens normally retails for over $700.

          Being able to zoom on a video clip is a nice technique to work into your productions to help draw attention to something very specific in the scene. For example, starting the scene with an entire industrial machine and zooming in to one specific part that is visibly moving….then perhaps transitioning into a slow-motion clip of that movement.

          Movie directors often use the zoom-in to bring someone’s face larger on the screen so their emotions can be captured in more depth. Zoom-outs are often used to create the feeling of vastness…or being alone. A power zoom like the 10-100 PD can add some production value when shooting interviews, people meeting around a table, weddings etc. (although at f/4.5-5.6 its quite slow for poorly lit venues).

          There’s an old saying that if the only tool you have is a hammer…then every problem looks like a nail. It’s the same thing with video gear. If the only ‘special effect’ tool a person has is a power zoom they will likely overuse it….but when added in with a slider, jib, and camera stabilizer it creates a powerful arsenal of creative tools.

          I currently don’t do a lot of ‘zoom’ scenes with my gear, mainly due to the fact that setting up a manual follow focus takes time that is often at a premium during a tight industrial shoot. Putting the 10-100 PD on a Nikon 1 V3 would open up a range of additional creative options (i.e. the touch screen focusing on the V3 will allow for very easy rack focusing) and I’ll definitely incorporate more zoom moves into my productions, replacing some of the quick-cuts I’ve been using. If I would have had this lens I certainly would have used it 2-3 times at a minimum in each of my recent client productions.

          Nasim wrote a great review on this lens, and although he didn’t like the size and weight of it compared to owning the 10-30 and 30-110 combo, he did say that the stills capability was very good. So, if you don’t already have the 30-110 this lens may make a lot of sense as a combo video/stills lens.

          Hope this has helped…


        • Thomas Stirr
          April 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm

          Hi KnightPhoto….

          Well….I followed up with Henry’s today and I was able to take advantage of that incredible deal on the 1 Nikon 10-100mm PD lens at $249.99!

          It certainly dwarfs my other 1 Nikon lenses but I don’t think it will be too hard to handle. Since I don’t have my Nikon 1 V3 yet I won’t be able to give the new lenses a spin for another week or so.


        • KnightPhoto
          May 2, 2014 at 4:25 am

          Hi Thomas, likewise I also jumped on the 10-100PD Zoom lens deal at Henry’s – at $249 there was nothing to lose! Looking forward to putting this to good use. And once again your descriptions of the type of video shots that might be useful when zooming from a wide-to-tele angle or vice-versa are much appreciated. Gives me something to think about in planning clips.

          Am enjoying all your articles so far and look forward to continued learning from them!

          • Thomas Stirr
            May 2, 2014 at 4:55 am

            Hi KnightPhoto,

            I haven’t used mine for any video yet….but I used a 72-77 step-up ring on it so I could mount my polarizing filter on it and I’ve been playing around with the 10-100 PD as a ‘walk-around holiday lens”. I’ve been getting some very nice landscape images with it.

            I’ll likely be doing some video articles/tests over the next few months and will include this lens in them.


      • 13.1.2) Phil
        April 17, 2014 at 7:13 am

        I’ve only just started using the 10-100mm PD zoom which I bought at a big discount on Amazon.The images are surprisingly good and more than sufficient for video which has a very smooth zoom too. I use DXO for RAW conversions on all my cameras (which is excellent) and they have the profile for the 10-100mm PD zoom plus all the other CX lenses.

        At first I thought the new, smaller 10-30mm PD zoom that comes with the kit would be better as it’s lighter for travel, but I live and work in very sunny areas so have a 72mm ND filter for the 10-100mm to keep the shutter speed down/aperture reasonable and I don’t think the new 10-30mm lens accepts filters

        • Thomas Stirr
          April 17, 2014 at 7:32 am

          Hi Phil,

          Thanks very much for sharing your experience with the 10-100 PD zoom. I purchased a copy of this lens yesterday for an excellent price of $249.99 at Henry’s. Their regular price on the lens is $779.99 so it was a deal that I simply could not pass up.

          It is very interesting that you mentioned the size of the lens being a positive….that was one of my considerations as well! Many of my other 1 Nikon lenses take very small filters (40.5mm) and it isn’t feasible to use my existing variable neutral density or polarizing filters with those lenses (I have 77mm filters with some step rings).

          As you know, for outdoor video work using a variable neutral filter is an absolute necessity to be able to match up frame rate and shutter speed. I viewed the larger size of the 10-100 as a strong positive as it would extend both the still and video shooting capability of my V3 because its size allows easy use of my existing filters.

          I also use DxOMark OpticsPro quite a bit, and like you, I find that my V2 files really seemed to like that particular software. I have version 8…but another reader pointed out that version 9 has an incredible new, noise reduction feature called ‘prime’. I have looked at some examples and it does look fantastic and I’m seriously thinking of upgrading to take advantage of this feature. Since still files with Nikon 1 cameras are noisy due to the smaller sensor, incorporating software into an overall ‘camera system’ can help maximize results from the CX sensor.

          You are correct that the new 10-30 PD zoom does not accept any filters at all…so when I get mine with my V3 kit I’m planning on using it for indoor work only.


  14. 14) Roshan
    April 16, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Hi Thomas,

    I enjoyed the way you wrote and didn’t notice when I came to the end of the article.

    I’ve been interested in stories in different forms and about 4 years ago I wanted to buy a camera so that I could take photographs of my room on weekly basis and of so many other things in a hope that when I’d write about past in the future I would be able to check the photographs for some help. Then the journey began. I started to search on google and came across point and shoots cameras and somehow I came over Canon EOS 7D and then to and started to read anything about photography and for a week my eyes were glued to my pc’s screen and I knew theoretically a lot about photography. Then after a while my father got me a bridge camera Kodak P880 and at first glance I thought it was a dslr but then I searched about it on internet and found out it’s a bridge camera. I was immensely happy to get my first camera. I had been reading about many aspects of photography but I’d been skipping the shooting in raw part as it needed postprocessing and I was feeling kind of lazy on that part but after using kodak p880 for about a month I suddenly decided to switch to Raw format and ever since I’ve been shooting on Raw format and just a retouch later on on Lightroom gives me amazing results. It’s 8mp and even at base iso of 50 it’s noisy but I’ve learned a lot through this bridge camera and I use it on manual mode even focusing I do manually although it’s really hard to achieve focus. If there wouldn’t be Raw format on this camera then I don’t think I’d get the kind of results after post processing that I’m getting out of this camera. EVF is so small that even when zoomed at it’s maximum length of 140 mm the objects look much smaller through the evf than through my naked eyes. I’m still using this camera and the reason is? I don’t have enough money to buy a dslr yet. My father might buy me a dslr soon so I’d like to ask you some question.
    Would you pick D5300 at $700 or D7000 at $750? I’m into video too and I’d love to use that tilting lcd and that 24mp without olpf on D5300 for cropping and getting closer when shooting birds or other distant photography. But the %100 coverage and bigger pentaprism viewfinder of D7000 over D5300’s %95 coverage and smaller pentamirror is very tempting. From photographic point of view which one would you choose? How does 35mm 1.8g dx lens compare in terms of ease of use when coupled with d5300 and D7000?

  15. 15) Thomas Stirr
    April 17, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Hi Roshan,

    That is not an easy question to answer as it really depends on the features that are the most important to you and what your longer term goals may be of owning the camera. In terms of using the cameras for video you will find that the tilt screen on the D5300 is very handy. The quality of the video of the D5300/D5200 is actually very good and you should be happy with either camera. As your posting noted, the D5300 does have a higher density sensor so it does afford you more opportunities with cropping etc. I’ve owned or shot with a D5200 or D5300 so I really can’t comment in terms of its functionality.

    I used to own a D7000 and found that it was a great camera. Solid build, good weather sealing, dual card slots, 100% view, very good battery life etc. It is much closer to a ‘pro build’ camera than would be the D5200/D5300. The video quality is not quite as good as the D5200/D5300 and it is limited to 24p with 1080.

    Rather than try and settle on a specific camera body upfront, it may be better for you to consider what kinds of subjects that you want to photograph and determining how extensive of a lens kit will make sense for you. This may be a multiple year plan as it may be cost prohibitive to try and acquire everything on your planned list at once.

    I’ve been a Nikon shooter for many, many years so I am partial to that particular brand. But, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you did not check out other options from Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, Pentax etc. There are a lot of excellent cameras and technologies on the market. I certainly would look at a lot of the mirrorless products that are on the market. If you decide on a particular brand of mirrorless camera you can always start with a lower end camera body and upgrade it later as your skills increase. If you stay with the same system any lenses you buy should be able to migrate to newer/better bodies.

    I would suggest trying to determine what selection of lenses would make the most sense for the kind of photography and video you intend on shooting. Generally speaking you are much better off buying better quality lenses, than putting too much money into a camera body. After you have your proposed lens selection determined, then investigate the lens offerings by various brands, the cost of the lenses, image quality etc. There are lots of great websites where you can read excellent reviews on lenses. Photography Life is a great place to start (you’ll find that information under the Reviews tab).

    After you’ve done that you will likely find that a particular brand/model of camera, along with the lenses you’ve identified, make the most sense for you. If you planning to buy any third party lenses like Tamron, Sigma etc. you’ll find that the best selection will tend to be with Nikon, Canon, and Sony bodies.

    Hope this has helped.


    • 15.1) Roshan
      April 17, 2014 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks Thomas. Your answer is very helpful to me and yes it has helped. I’ve gone through several reviews of dslr and lenses on this website and other websites like and dxomark and dpreview. I’m on a tight budget so I can’t afford more than one lens at start and Nikon’s 35mm 1.8g dx when coupled with a dx body and it seems to be a great one for start according to several reviews including the one that can be found on this website and it seems to be the best option as it’s half the cost than any other lenses of this focal length from other brands. I’ve used either 24 mm, 50 mm and 140 mm most of the time on my bridge camera. I love taking photographs of almost everything and I’m not yet focused on a particular type of photography so I’d love to own lenses of great quality that ranges from 24 mm to 400 mm but I can’t afford at the moment so I’m leaning towards 35mm 1.8g dx lens. I think I’ll go with Nikon D7000 as I’ve read it has much bigger viewfinder and of better quality than those viewfinders that can be found on D5000 series. I wanted to get Pentax K5 II though but it’s not available in this country. I’m from Nepal. The market here is dominated by Canon, Nikon and Sony. I did search for mirrorless cameras here but only panasonic’s GH series are available and looking at images from gh series I didn’t feel it’s upto dx sensor’s plus I love optical viewfinder and I’m fed up with this low quality viewfinder of my bridge camera though I’ve read gh series have much more better evf compared to my tiny and low quality evf. For the past 3 years I’ve been somewhat biased and have been leaning towards Nikon although I haven’t owned one yet. And in the future if I can afford and if Tamron 150-600 mm turns out to be a good performer I’d love to get one.

      Thank’s Thomas.

      • 15.1.1) Thomas Stirr
        April 17, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        Hi Roshan,

        I used to own a 35mm f/1.8 DX lens and it was a very good performer and from a price/performance perspective was excellent. The lens would perform well on any DX body. If you are looking for a lot of initial flexibility you may want to consider the new 18-140 DX zoom lens. I haven’t shot with it as I no longer own DX gear….but I have read a lot of good things about the lens. It also scores very well at DxOMark.

        Perhaps some readers who own that lens can comment. BTW….Ross posted some comments about how good that lens has been for him.

        The viewfinder on the D7000 is very nice to use and having 100% view is very helpful when framing shots. As I mentioned earlier, I used to own a dD7000 and really enjoyed shooting with it. Since it has been replaced by the D7100 you can likely pick one up at an attractive price as well.


        • Roshan
          April 19, 2014 at 1:04 pm

          Hi Thomas! I’d love the versatility of 18-140mm and according to reviews it sure seems to produce much much better results than what can be produced from my bridge camera’s lens but it doesn’t seem to be as good as 35mm 1.8g when bokeh, sharpness and the benefits of wide aperture is taken into consideration. But I can feel why you’ve recommended it to me as I had mentioned I use 24, 50 and 140 mm on my bridge camera. Another thing 18-140 cost $600 where as 35mm 1.8g cost three times less than the former. I’m really on a tight budget and if I could afford to buy a $600 worth lens then I’d rather wait and add another $200 and get a sigma 18-35mm 1.8g lens although I’d loose the extra reach of 18-140 mm. I’ve had limitations with my bridge camera and a D7000 with a 35mm prime lens is definitely a huge step up for me although it has it’s limitations with it’s focal length but I’m ready to trade zoom for the quality that I will get from 35mm at the moment. When things go well and I’ll earn and have more money somehow then I’ll add other lenses. But nevertheless I’m really thankful to you for taking out time to read my posts and response to me. I’ll let you know when I get the camera and the lens. Meanwhile I’ll be looking forwards to your articles :)


          • Thomas Stirr
            April 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm

            Hi Roshan,

            You will be well served to save your money and buy better quality lenses over time. If you do decide to buy the D7000 I think you will be very happy with it for years to come. It is a good, solid camera with very good dynamic range, colour depth, and very respectable low light performance.


  16. 16) Roshan
    April 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    I had posted here yesterday and still I can’t see my post today but I can see Thomas Stirr’s comment made today though. I’ve been a regular visitor of photographylife.come even before it was names mansurovphotography something like that I used to visit this site whenever I needed any help or to know any aspect of photography or just to check updates. But why isn’t my post here and I had asked a few questions.

  17. 17) Roshan
    April 17, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    I’m sorry! Please accept my apologies! I just saw it now maybe I needed to refresh the page. I’m really sorry Thomas and I appreciate your reply. Thanks again. I just saw your answer and I haven’t gone through it either because I can’t wait to say how sorry I am and how silly I’ve been. Thanks again. I’ll go through your response now. I hope you’ll forgive my stupidity.

    • 17.1) Thomas Stirr
      April 17, 2014 at 12:19 pm


      Don’t sweat it….nothing to worry about!


  18. 18) Hardey Leone
    August 11, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I have no idea how you find the time to write so much about this subject and turn it
    Into such a huge thing. I don’t understand it. Just be creative!

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