long-time Nikon F2AS user -- which SRL digital is best?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by maya, Feb 6, 2007.

  1. maya

    maya Guest


    I'm getting ready to purchase a digital camera; for a while was
    considering a point-and-shoot for the time being to save money; however,
    none of them have wide-angle lenses.. and the vast majority of what I
    shoot these days (actually for years now) is with a wide-angle; my
    "normal" lens is a 24mm.. have barely touched my 50mm in the last six
    years or so.. (am putting together a photoblog, would appreciate some
    feedback.. www.francesdelrio.com/photoblog/.. thank you..)

    I have been using a Nikon F2AS for about thirty years, so this is where
    I'm coming from.. am considering either Nikon D50, D70, or D80 (is
    it true the D40 has a different lens-mounting system from the others?
    why would they do that?) I think I'm going with Nikon D80.. but not
    100% sure yet... am traveling to India in about four days (didn't know
    firm travel-date till now, trip is job-related..) so need to make a
    decision double-quick..

    this is a big investment and I want to make sure to invest wisely... :)
    thus would appreciate opinions from knowledgeable folks here..

    thank you very much....
    maya, Feb 6, 2007
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  2. If you ***MUST*** make a quick decision (unfortunate, and you
    MUST allow time to check out the gear, particularly any zoom lens,
    for defects while you can still exchange them. The D40/50/70/80/100/200
    bodies all have DREADFUL viewfinders compared with the F2, which
    had one of the best ever, but the D80 and D200 are not as bad as the
    others. Avoid the D40 - it doesn't even AF with non "S" lenses (ridiculous!).
    None but the D200 will meter with non-AF lenses, but it is the most
    expensive of the group. The D80 is the likely best choice for you if price
    is an issue, but DO NOT attempt to mount non-AI/AIS lenses on it!
    For a single lens, the 18-70 or 18-135mm Nikkors may offer the best
    performance for the price, though they are not as good as the best
    non-zooms... (the FLs are multiplied by 1.5 to get the 35mm-camera
    equivalent FLs, so 18mm = 27mm - but there are very few good shorter
    FL lenses available for digital, unfortunately, and all are large and
    expensive). You could look into the Sony R-1, which has the equivalent
    of a 24-120mm lens...
    David Ruether, Feb 6, 2007
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  3. maya

    jhthurman Guest

    If you're used to an F2AS, do yourself a favor and get the D200 with, maybe,
    the 18-200mm AFS VR or the 12-24mm wide zoom. You'll have a camera much more
    like what you're used to and it will make full (with exception of auto-focus
    on your older ones) use of your existing lenses.
    jhthurman, Feb 6, 2007
  4. maya

    maya Guest

    thank you very much for your response, David.. it's not such a rushed
    decision, I've been thinking about it for a long time, it's just that
    the closer I get to actually making the purchase the more nervous I
    get!! :) just found another great review of D80 here,
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D80/D80A.HTM.. it really seems
    like the best bang for buck..:)

    thanks again..
    maya, Feb 6, 2007
  5. maya

    tomm42 Guest

    Look at the D200, has the best feature set of non pro Nikon DSLRs. It
    has a build quality like your F2. Can use manual focus lenses too,
    but they have to be Ai or AiS, they have "feet" on the aperture ring.
    An older non Ai Nikkor can damage the camera's aperture connection to
    the lens. Older lenses can be converted.
    Focusing with a WA is a bit of a pain with these cameras, I use a 24
    f2 with a D200, with a 105 micro I'm fine. The other problem you will
    run into is that the sensor is smaller, so your lenses act similar to
    lenses 1.5 their focal length. A 24 becomes a 36mm, a 17mm = 25mm.
    Takes a little getting used to, all Nikons DSLRs have this. I have 4
    lenses 3 primes, a 17mm Tokina, a nice lens, the 24 f2 Nikon, a 55
    micro, and a 70-210 f4 zoom, the set isn't perfect but works for me
    and cost less than a grand. If you want to use zooms, somehow they go
    with digital, the 18-70 Nikkor kit lens is good, but may not be wide
    enough for you, the 17-55, and the 17-35, the latter could be used on
    your F2, are excellent lenses with fairly high price tags. For wide
    angle lenses there are 12-24 Nikon and Tokina, and 10-20 Sigma, a 17mm
    Tokina is also a good choice .

    tomm42, Feb 6, 2007
  6. maya

    maya Guest

    oh my gosh, two people say I should look @ D200 instead... ok, what
    are main differences, please, between D200 and D80 that will make it
    worth it (i.e., justifiable) for me to purchase the D200..

    thank you very much..
    maya, Feb 6, 2007
  7. maya

    HankB Guest

    One of the biggest is that the D200 will meter with non-AF lenses. If
    you have a large investment in Nikon glass that you would like to use
    with the DSLR, they will be easier to use with the D200.

    And of course, the D200 is overall a better camera with metal body and
    more features. I don't own one, but IMO the only way to go wrong with
    it is to spend the $$$ and not use it.

    If the $$$ are a concern, then consider the D80. Depending on the
    subject matter, metering may not be an issue. You can instantly review
    the captured image and use the graph (struggling for the correct
    term... Histogram! That's it) to review exposure.

    I have a D50 and could not be happier. Well... I suppose a D200 would
    make me happier. But I honestly have to say that I have plenty of room
    to improve with the D50. (IOW, I am not skillful enough to take better
    pictures given a better camera. Yet. ;)

    HankB, Feb 6, 2007
  8. maya

    jhthurman Guest

    Hank has a good point: to a great degree, the camera doesn't matter...it's
    the skill and imagination of the photographer that makes the difference! A
    better camera will just make it easier to take whatever quality of picture
    the photographer is currently capable of.

    I have a D200 and 90% of the time, my 18-200mm AF-S VR allows me to get the
    pictures I'm looking for. Once in a while I'll use some of my older Nikon
    glass...particularly my 55mm micro Nikkor, which is not auto-focus but works
    really well with the matrix metering in the camera. I like having a slightly
    sturdier, weather sealed camera when I go out, and the extra build quality
    and more flexible metering was worth it to me.

    On the other hand, I bought two D40s for Christmas for my adult son and
    daughter and tried them out before giving them as presents. Even the D40
    with the kit 18-55mm lens does a great job. If using non AF-S lenses is not
    an issue, and you don't really care about having more megapixels (actually
    good 6MP cameras can make great photos) then you can really save yourself
    some money by going with the D40. It just depends on your needs. All of the
    latest DSLRs are pretty damn good.
    jhthurman, Feb 6, 2007
  9. maya

    Apteryx Guest

    I've also had a F2AS for nearly 30 years, although I've only shot 2 rolls of
    film on it since getting my D70 3 years ago, and don't think I've used it
    all since upgrading to a D200 just under a year ago.

    I'm assuming you have a collection of AI manual focus lenses to go with your
    F2AS. If so, then the chief advantage of the D200 is that is will meter with
    them. You could still mount them on the D80, but would need to carry a
    hand-held meter if you planned on using them extensively. If on the other
    hand you plan to replace all your AI MF lenses with modern AF lenses, then
    the price advantage of the D80 will help you do that.

    You will probably need to buy at least one new lens (18-70, 18-200, or
    12-24mm) because one any Nikon DSLR, your 24mm will only have the angle of
    view that a 36mm would have on your F2AS (though as such it is still pretty
    useful, and my MF 24mm is possibly the MF lens I use most often on my D200).
    Apteryx, Feb 6, 2007
  10. I'd say look at the D50 & D70s if you don't mind the rather small
    viewfinder, or the D80 if you want a viewfinder that uses a glass prism.

    Nikkor AF-D primes seem to get expensive any wider than the 20/2.8 which
    would act like a 30mm with film, which *might* be OK for you. This lens is
    certainly the next one that I want to get!

    If you are a keen wide angle shooter then the 12-24/4 would seem an obvious
    choice if you don't mind being limited to f4. There is always the 14/2.8
    AF-D once you have a bit (I mean a lot!) more money.

    Have fun! Cheers adrian www.boliston.co.uk
    Adrian Boliston, Feb 6, 2007
  11. maya

    maya Guest

    ok, when you guys say "will meter" you mean autom. metering? you mean
    w/o AF lenses you can't use **automatic** light-meter? I've always
    metered manually, so I don't care about that..

    yes, my lenses are all manual focus, have never felt a need for AF..
    and yes, am planning to get it with the 18-135mm.. (and I think I WILL
    go w/the D80, the D200 with this same lens, is way too expensive.. and
    main thing I'm trying to avoid is having to change lenses so much...)

    thank you all very much..
    maya, Feb 6, 2007
  12. maya

    King Sardon Guest

    It's hard to choose the right camera under pressure. But I believe
    that the D80 is a fine camera and you probably will not regret buying

    But you might regret not having enough time to get some experience
    with it so that you can select necessary accessories. There is not
    much point to buying an SLR without getting one or more extra lenses.
    Will your old lenses be satisfactory? What kind of macro capabilities
    do you want? How will you store all your pics? Make sure you have
    enough memory cards, or a card reader to store the shots on your
    laptop... or burned to DVDs.

    It will take you a while to learn to use the camera to advantage. Lots
    of time on the plane to read the manual...

    King Sardon, Feb 6, 2007
  13. maya

    Apteryx Guest

    More than that. The D80 won't give you a meter reading at all with a MF lens
    for you to manually set the exposure - because it doesn't know what aperture
    you have set on the lens, or indeed the lenses maximum aperture. You need
    mechanical links between lens and camera to transmit that info from a MF
    lens to the camera, and the D80 and lesser Nikon DSLRs doesn't have them
    (they use electronic links to get that info from AF lenses). You would need
    to carry a seperate meter, or use trial and error to get the correct

    The D200 (and more expensive Nikons) has both mechanical links for older
    lenses and electronic links for modern ones.
    Apteryx, Feb 6, 2007
  14. maya

    gpaleo Guest

    Do you consider it wise to jump to a new technology, with an 89degree
    learning curve, just four days before a trip like this??????????
    Don't you think you need to shoot a few hundreds of pix with your new (so
    incredibly capable and amazingly configurable) camera before you embark on
    anything of importance????????
    Talk about risk taking.........................
    gpaleo, Feb 6, 2007
  15. Yes. Not only will you not me able to use autometering, but you can use the
    in camera meter at all, even manually.
    You are aware none of these camera have a split screen focus system? So
    you either must use the AF meter signal light in the VF to focus or go
    purely by your eye. There is an aftermarket company Katz-eye which makes
    replacement screens for the D200, not sure if they make one for the D80. In
    either case they are not user replaceable and require your to send in the
    camera, iirc. The viewfinders may also not be up to what you are used to.
    You really need to get each one in your hands and use it.
    Ed Ruf (REPLY to E-MAIL IN SIG!), Feb 6, 2007
  16. maya

    J. Clarke Guest

    It doesn't neet to know what aperture is set to function in stop-down
    mode, only how much light is striking the meter.
    J. Clarke, Feb 7, 2007
  17. maya

    maya Guest

    interesting..... but believe it or not, I have always focused 'by my
    eye', as you say.. I just don't like using split-screen focus thingie
    to focus, most of the time I'm not even aware the split-screen is
    there.. ok, I thank everyone for their help and input.. if I do end up
    buying the camera (I still get cold feet... what if I don't like it and
    need to return it???) I will come back here and share the photos...
    (well, I guess I can share the photos whether or not shoot w/a digital....:)

    thank you very much...
    maya, Feb 7, 2007
  18. maya

    Paul Furman Guest

    If you are used to manual focusing by eye, nothing less than a D80 will
    even come close to your expectations because the lesser models have very
    dim small viewfinders.

    Also you said you set exposure manually but the D200 will at least let
    you use the meter to make that judgement. You will have the capability
    to review your shots & adjust exposure that way but this is really
    different than what you are used to.

    I shoot with a D200 and my latest favorite is an old 28mm f/2 manual
    focus, this is equivalent to a 42mm normal lens and it's awfully darn
    difficult to manually focus, on my old D70 it would be hopelessly
    frustrating. I think this will be a big change for you and the D200 is
    the best choice because of more knobs & manual controls.

    If you get a D40, 50, 70 then throw out your old lenses. You will need a
    D200 to make any decent use of the old lenses. If you are used to fast
    wide glass, that's simply not an option & you should stick with film.

    A D80 will not give you the possibility of a 24mm f/2.8 equivalent. The
    standard kit lense starts at 27mm & slow, the D70 kit lens is 25.5mm &
    slow. When I say slow I'm talking about getting that shallow DOF you are
    accustomed to, if your style is deep DOF then any of these will do fine
    given the ability to boost ISO/ASA for hand held speeds. If you like the
    shallow DOF for isolating subjects with blurry background at wide angles
    you are not going to like a crop frame DSLR
    Paul Furman, Feb 7, 2007
  19. I guess you didn't find the Nikon 8400 (24 - 85mm) or the Kodak V705 (23 -



    I used to have a Nikon F3 with all the lenses, but find smaller cameras
    like the ones above much more convenient when travelling. I also have a
    Panasonic FZ5 for image-stabilised telephoto up to 432mm equivalent.


    The FZ5 has now been superseded by the FZ7/FZ8, and the Nikon 8400 has not
    been replaced (perhaps because Nikon can make more money selling DSLRs?).

    David J Taylor, Feb 7, 2007
  20. maya

    TJWilson Guest

    It may be too late but one other factor I did not notice anywhere in
    this thread is weather sealing. D200 has it D80 does not, could be a
    factor travelling in India (heat, humidity, dust). However, if you
    can't afford the D200 the D80 will likely be your next best overall
    choice for features and functionality.

    I admire your courage stepping into the world of digital prior to
    travelling somewhere with infinite photo ops like India. Let us know
    how you make out and post some of your pics from the trip.
    TJWilson, Feb 7, 2007
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