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on Apr 30, 2014 in Gear Head Wed

GearHead Wednesday 14 -16


Got a gear question you want/need answered? I want to help and answer it. Send your gear questions to me at Gear Questions and I’ll do my best every Wednesday to answer as many questions as I can. Keep the questions coming, your question might help someone who doesn’t know quite how to phrase their question. Keep in mind the answers are just my $.02 worth and you have to take what works for you and your photography and embrace it and ignore the rest. So here’s this weeks questions ….

D7100Top of the morning Moose!
I’m in the process of buying a new camera and I’m not sure if I should go full frame or get one with a crop factor. My current camera is a Nikon D5000 that I have had for 4-5 years now. In the local camera store they told me that a D7100 would be a good upgrade. However, this is not a full frame camera and I’m wondering whether this will be an issue. I mostly do wildlife-, bird- and landscape photography so I know from a zoom point the crop factor cameras have got an advantage. Is the full frame factor necessary if I would like to take my photography to the next level? The price difference is roughly $500-700 here in Sweden and I’m thinking if I don’t get the full frame now I will want to get it in a year or two. If you were in my shoes (20 years old, hobby photographer and nature enthusiast, 4 years of camera experince, haven’t got too much money), what would you do?
Would greatly appreciate an answer

Marcus, understand that “full frame” is truly not a very accurate term. With cameras from 11×14 down to whatever Point & Shoots are, each is a “full frame” unless you’ve turned on some internal cropping. In the Nikon DSLR we have DX and FX format and IMHO, there is no difference in image quality between the two. Now with all that trivia said, let’s delve into your question from a creative’s point of view.

The D7100 is an excellent camera, the camera store gave you very good advice! Moving up to a FX format will not in itself take your photography to the next level. Loosing that 50% gain in focal by going to FX most certainly will because you will have to get closer to wildlife to get the same image size you enjoyed with DX.

As far as what I would do, I would invest in the best lenses I could, spend money on time in the field and get the body that makes those two things possible. Understand that I have always bought the very best I could afford at that time and then put all the rest of my energy in behind that gear. Time is still the most important ingredient and I have no doubt you’ll make the most of that!

I noticed in your review of the D4s a large Cintiq in the background.  It appears larger than the 13HD.  Is it a 22HD or 24HD.  If so, I would love your thoughts.  I just set up a 22HD Touch and although the learning curve is huge, I love it.

Bernie, good catch! Yeap, that’s the Wacom 24HD you saw in the background of the D4s video. I simply cannot function without Wacom products, the 13HD on the road and the 24HD back in the office. You might want to watch my video on setting up the 24HD or Express Keys, that might take a little of the slant out of that curve. The reason I’m so dependent on the Wacom products is because they are one of the few ways I can actually by time! They so speed up the digital darkroom experience that they are literally essential tools. There’s not much else out there that I can say that about. Hope that helps.


Hi Moose,  
i do own a Nikon D 800 and a 400mm 2.8 afs II and i like to use tis combination a lot, however the never ending thought of improving my results force me to ask you the question if there is a substantial optical quality improvement with the new 400mm 2.8 VR? Thanks for answering.


Peter, ah, the 400f2.8, the one lens I probably should never have sold. Great lens, don’t know how I’d use it these days but what a beaut! Is there an optical difference between the AFS II and the VR models? If there is, it’s just a tad so that’s not why I’m telling you the VR is better. The fact that it has VR isn’t why I’m going to tell you it’s the lens to own. The autofocus speed is improved as well, but that’s not it. It’s not because it’s the newest one either. Nope, to me the fact the VR focuses down to 9.2feet compared to 10feet is why, in my book, the VR is the lens to own. You get all those other benefits, a tad sharper, faster AF performance, VR and newest, but in my book, it’s the MFD that makes it worth the price. Now if you’re sports, this probably isn’t a big deal. If you’re going after birds, it can be a game changer. Hope that helps.