Any wildlife photographers prefer the full frame over DX mode?

Discussion in 'Digital SLR' started by Richard, Mar 15, 2008.

  1. Richard

    Richard Guest

    I'm thinking of upgrading from a D2Xs to either a D3 or a D300, but
    I'm worried about the loss of that extra virtual focal length with the
    D3. A 500mm. lens is just that, 500mm., not 750mm. or thereabouts.

    I love the D2Xs with its DX format and the high speed crop that acts
    as a built in tele converter. Great for the birds. For that reason I
    would opt for the D300, but the D3 has greater appeal.

    Does anyone miss the extra DX focal length?

    I read somewhere that it is possible to switch over to DX mode on the
    D3. Is this correct? I use the shortcut switch on the front of the
    D2Xs for this.

    Richard, Mar 15, 2008
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  2. Richard

    me Guest

    This sounds conflicted. Which is it?
    Again, pick what you want and make your choice.
    Let me get this straight. You're considering purchasing a $5k body and you
    can't even be bothered to look at the Nikon site to understand what it's
    specifications are?

    Interested in buying a bridge in Brooklyn or some land on the moon I have
    for sale?
    me, Mar 15, 2008
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  3. Richard

    Paul Furman Guest

    Yeah, it's a 'free' 1.4x teleconverter. I'd think that would be a big
    bummer for wildlife work to lose that. If I get a D3, I'll keep the D200
    for that purpose (and because it's smaller/lighter).

    AFAIK the D3 crop mode exists for the purpose of using DX lenses, not
    faster frame rate. It can be overridden if say you want a full fisheye
    from a DX 10.5 lens, I'm not sure about the other way around.

    One wildlife photog I talked to had a little complaint about the D3 next
    to the D300: the D3 has the same AF sensor areas so they cover a smaller
    percent of the full frame.
    Paul Furman, Mar 15, 2008
  4. You won't miss it, get off your ass and zoom with your feet.
    Either one will be fine. The D3 gives you better high-ISO performance and a
    bunch of other features. If you are coming from a D2xs the D300 will be a
    step up in image quality at higher ISO.
    It's just a simple crop and a waste of time since it only gives you a 5 or 6
    MP image. Shoot full frame and crop if needed. Ideally you would be
    zooming with your feet and composing your shot prior to pulling the trigger.

    Rita Berkowitz, Mar 15, 2008
  5. If you commonly make use of focal lengths at 400mm or
    greater, it is almost certain that you'll greatly miss
    the DX format. Likewise, if you commonly make use of
    focal lengths less than 28mm the FX format is very

    Regardless of the focal length, if you shoot in low
    light situations the D3 is fabulous (and, while I have
    never used a D300, I would assume it would fall between
    the D2Xs and the D3 for low light work).

    Between the D2Xs, the D300, and the D3 it depends very
    much on what you typically do. The ultimate route would
    of course be to buy both a D3 and a D300, and sell off
    the D2Xs. Next to that might be to get a D3 and keep
    the D2Xs. Choosing only one of the three, however, is
    just too dependant upon how you use your camera.
    The D3 will automatically crop to the DX format when a
    DX lense is mounted. It can also be manually set for DX
    mode. But... while the FX mode produces a 12.0 MP
    image, the DX mode produces a 5.1 MP image. Another
    (in)significant difference is that in FX mode the
    continuous frame rate peaks at 9 FPS, while in DX mode
    it will do 11 FPS.

    Assuming the use of a FF lense, there isn't any
    advantage to shooting in DX mode unless direct uncropped
    images are required or a frame rate higher than 9 is
    Floyd L. Davidson, Mar 16, 2008
  6. Richard

    Ali Guest

    Yup, but what if the wildlife is a wild hippo, polar bear, etc? ;-)
    Ali, Mar 16, 2008
  7. If you can't get the shot with a 500 or 600mm Nikkor and a 2X TC then it's
    not worth worrying about.

    Rita Berkowitz, Mar 16, 2008
  8. Richard

    Ali Guest

    Of course, you can also put yourself in a place where they can't actually
    get to you, even if they wanted to.
    Ali, Mar 16, 2008

  9. This is so obvious! I don't like to call people stupid,
    unlike certain perople around here but ....

    ASSUMING that the pixel size of the full frame camera is not
    larger than that of the crop camera and

    ASSSUMING that the mirror mechanism and electronics of the full
    frame are fast enough that it will shoot as fast as the crop camera, then

    you can simply ignore the outer parts of the full frame and get the
    EXACT SAME PICTURE as if using the same lens on the crop camera.

    Now there are other quibbles, such as that it is likely true that
    the viewfinder view of the "crop area" in the full frame's
    viewer will be smaller than in the crop camera's. But that
    wont change the actual image.

    Where you lose with the full frame camera is that it will be
    bigger and heavier.

    Doug McDonald
    Doug McDonald, Mar 16, 2008
  10. Richard

    Chris W Guest

    That is all true, but in the case of the D3 vs the D300, both sensors
    have the same number of pixels so on the D3 they are bigger. Simulating
    the DX mode on a D3 by cropping will loose a lot of those pixels.

    If you need long lenses I see the D300 as a huge advantage. You can use
    a 300mm lens and have almost 500mm with a less expensive and much
    lighter lens. Of course then you make a sacrifice in the wide angle
    area. Or buy a new wide angle lens, which I guess I will need to do
    sometime after my D300 gets here. But still lots less money than a D3.

    Chris W

    "Protect your digital freedom and privacy, eliminate DRM,
    learn more at"

    Ham Radio Repeater Database.
    Chris W, Mar 17, 2008
  11. Richard

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    The flip side is that the D3 will be better in low-light situations.

    If you are shooting animals in the sweet light of dawn or sunset, the D3
    would be the better choice -- same thing if you are shooting in forest

    Assuming, of course, you can get close enough to get the shot you want.

    Dudley Hanks, Mar 17, 2008
  12. Another advantage is the "uprezzing" seems to be a lot better than my oder

    When I first got the D3 I noticed that I was really struggling with the loss
    of the crop for shooting sport. To the point where I was actually thinking
    I had made a mistake. Then I slapped myself around the head and thought,
    how did I do this when I shot film. Now I would not change back, in fact I
    have trouble shooting with the D2Xs.

    Mick Brown
    Michael Brown, Mar 17, 2008
  13. Richard

    John Sheehy Guest

    That last statement is very important. The D3 will give excellent results,
    better than any 12MP or less APS-C or -H camera, if you can fill the frame
    with what you want to and don't need to crop. If you must crop, however,
    the D3 becomes, for example, a 5.4MP APS-C camera with more image noise.
    Cropping is exactly like having a smaller sensor with less pixels.

    John Sheehy, Mar 17, 2008
  14. Richard

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Well, even then the D3 pixels are still bigger than APS-C ones, so noise
    will be lower.
    Alfred Molon, Mar 17, 2008
  15. Zooming with your feet eliminates all of this.

    Rita Berkowitz, Mar 17, 2008
  16. Richard

    PixelPix Guest eliminates the need for different focal lengths too. But oddly
    we all still carry around a shitload of glass? lol
    PixelPix, Mar 18, 2008
  17. Well, even then the D3 pixels are still bigger than APS-C ones, so
    Gets you eaten by bears, bitten by snakes, drowned in the
    ocean, and beaten to a pulp by gangsters too...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Mar 18, 2008
  18. Richard

    John Sheehy Guest

    That is not true at all, as far as the image is concerned.

    The noise of an image is not directly proportional to the noise of a
    pixel. The noise of an image is more directly related to photon capture
    per unit of relative area, and pixel read noise divided by the linear
    resolution, vs displayed brightness.

    Some day all you pixel-centric thinkers will wake up and find that you've
    been staring at individual trees all along and have been making comments
    about forests from them.

    Big pixels are ultimately inferior, as far as filling a given sensor
    space is concerned; they are confusers of photon locations (enemies of
    resolution), and arbiters of high image read noise, especially at low
    ISOs or in systems unoptimized for high ISO (minimal circuitry between
    the photosites). They are only universally more useful if they are big
    because the sensor itself (or the crop used) is also relatively big.

    John Sheehy, Mar 18, 2008
  19. Richard

    John Sheehy Guest

    Zooming with your feet is great for buildings, trees, fearless humans, and

    For real wildlife it usually means waving bye-bye to your subject as it
    fades into infinity.

    John Sheehy, Mar 18, 2008
  20. Richard

    Dudley Hanks Guest

    Perhaps my memory is worse than I thought, but, it doesn't seem all that
    long ago that Rita posted a reference to a pro-Canon shooter who went Nikon.

    Well, people pooh poohed it, and then they got to reminiscing about how good
    the pro was. And, before you know it a few folks were bringing up their
    favourite documentary / TV specials and the many other fantastic things he

    There are two things, in particular, that come to mind. One was how
    impressed people were that he lay down in the path of a charging elephant to
    get some great shots. The other was that he was shooting over his shoulder
    as he sprinted to outrun an angry hippo.

    If that isn't "zooming with your feet," I don't know what the hell is...

    As usual, you aren't far off the mark, Rita.

    Take Care,
    Dudley Hanks, Mar 18, 2008
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