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on Apr 21, 2009 in Wildlife Photography

FX or DX for Wildlife?

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I’ve had a few emails of late asking what seems to me a simple question but since I don’t get a response to my answer, I have to assume to the writer it isn’t that simple. The question, since I’m a wildlife photographer, why don’t I shoot with the DX format? My answer which is as straight forward as I can make it doesn’t seem to be satisfactory. My answer is I use a skill base to get close physically and don’t rely on a crop factor or a focal length to obtain the image size I desire.

The question makes me laugh on one level, raise concern for the advancement of skill set on the other. I laugh because when the D1 first came out, its crop factor, the same that still exists in the D300, was the curse of photography and would doom us all. Bring back the “traditional 35mm” format in the FX format and oh my, don’t take away my DX, I like that bigger image in the viewfinder. Then there is this thing called camera craft, wildlife photographer skills, professionalism. This is where we use everything from f/stop and light to focal length and biology to tell a story with a click, using the lens to exclude and include elements only.

I’m still not answering the question though why I prefer FX over DX. I was trained and came up the ranks shootings 35mm. I developed my “style” with that format and made my own personal preferences to lenses and how to apply them with that format. Yeah, I could function in the DX realm but I’m much happier with FX. Those who are truly serious about their wildlife photography should be looking at those images of photographers they like. If you were to do that with my images, you’d noticed I’m not an eyeball photographer. I must include the world of the critter within the frame in order to tell the story I want and need to tell with each click.

I guess the bigger question that’s in my mind that I don’t say to those writing with this FX or DX question is, what does it matter what I do? Seriously. If we were all to be standing next to each other with all the same gear pointed at the same subject, we’d all have a different photo. That’s cool and the main reason why I try to share all I know. Honestly, might sound trite, but it’s the person behind the camera that truly counts!

Oh yeah, the photo above taken with FX or DX? Does it matter?