Thinking of switching to Nikon.

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by jordanstarr, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    I've used various 35mm systems over the years (from pentax to canon to contax). I currently have a pretty amazing 35mm system for my contax camera that includes a 28 f2.8, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.4, 100 f2.0 with an RTS and 139Q bodies. It's not that I'm disappointed with it. In fact it's amazing. The problem is that I don't find myself shooting 35mm that often (but would still like a solid system with a bit of extra cash for documentary projects). I'm certain I can sell everything for around $1800US.

    So, I'm actually considering selling the whole thing and switching over to Nikon (or possibly expanding my canon FD system) with pretty much the equivalent lenses (24 f2.8, 35 f2.0 or 1.4, 50 f1.4, 105 f2.5 or 1.8 with an fm2n and/or f2 bodies). However, I'm looking for advice from some people who have had made similar switches because there's no turning back. I'm a pretty serious amateur photographer and have some year-long, documentary-type projects underway that should be complete in 2010. I've only ever shot a nikon once before with a 50mm f1.4 and was happy with the results (happier than my canon 50mm f1.4 -hence my interest in nikon).

    I know answers are based on personal preference and it depends what you're shooting, etc. So, I guess the main question is quality comparisons between the lenses and bodies for various shots (everything from landscapes, portraits and still life). I'm a pretty versatile photographer with a hasselblad for MF and wista for 4x5 and shoot all types of films and subjects. I'll be blowing up photos from the smallest 8x10 to a 16x20 at the largest.

    Thanks in advance.
    ...Jordan.
     
  2. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    Nikon has some amazing lenses (the 105/2.5 comes to mind) and so does Zeiss. However, I'm not sure you're gaining a lot optically from switching.

    You will gain some flexibility in the sense that there are lenses available in Nikon mount that you can't easily get for Contax. For example, the AF 17-35/2.8 is an amazing piece of glass even if you only use manual-focus bodies.

    The bodies are different. I'm not sure if you'd call them better or worse, but they are different. The F3HP might be a good choice for your work, if you don't need autofocus. Of course, autofocus bodies are a possibility as well.

    I guess I'm puzzled by your motivation. Is your thinking that a Nikon system that will do what you need is worth less than a Contax system, so you can switch and have money left? If this isn't your motivation, and you are happy with what you have, you might be best to stick with it. Nikon stuff is good (it's what I use, and I have a lot of it, and I'm very, very happy with it), but I'm not sure I see it as a step up for you, unless you have a need to add some obscure lenses to your arsenal or prefer the Nikon bodies in some manner.
     
  3. PhotoJim

    PhotoJim Member

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    I see money is the motivation after a more careful reread.

    I think you'll like Nikon. I also think you'll miss aspects of your Contax system. Overall I think changing would be a wash.
     
  4. aparat

    aparat Member

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    Don't do it! You will end up saving little, but you will put yourself through the hassle of selling and buying. The only reason that I would consider switching to Nikon is to be able to use a digital body, but since you're posting on APUG, I assume you're not interested in that.
     
  5. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    ....Definately not interested in digital and I'm not expecting to gain anything optically, but hopefully keep it close to the same, but have money left over. Manual focus is also fine -I don't need automatic anything actually, but I would like a working light meter in at least one of the bodies.
    One thing I was concerned about is that because nikon ais lenses are available to use on the nikon digital bodies, they arn't dropping a lot in price. I've priced out a nikon system on ebay that has the same range in lenses for about 1200US, which would still give me about 600 in cash extra. I agree, it would be a huge hassle to switch over and these are the options I'm weighing out.
     
  6. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    If you're planning to shoot film.. don't switch... you might not get the whole $1800 for your system and the Nikon system might cost more than planned... which will mean you're getting equipment that you don't know the history of and selling nice gear that you do know the history of.... doubt if you'll end up with much cash in the end.

    If you need some cash sell off a lens or two that you don't use. Of course if digi is in the plans than you have to go with Canon, Nikon or Sony.

    On the other hand if you're just bored with your system, and this happens to all of us... maybe just sell a piece or two and re-buy something more fun.

    -rob
     
  7. milkplus-mesto

    milkplus-mesto Member

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    My suggestion is that you don't go direct to Nikon, simply expand your FD setup. I love the FD cameras and the way they are designed - and at the moment, they're dirt cheap, so you'll be able to pick up a hell of a lot for your money. What have you already got in FD, i couldn't tell whether that list was what you'd buy or what you already have?
     
  8. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    If you already own all those lenses for the Canon (not sure I am reading your post correctly), I don't think you will find a whole lot of people that think Nikon lenses are better than Canon lenses even though you have your disappointment with the 50 1.4. Nikon lenses are excellent for what they are.. though of the 7 or 8 I have owned none are fantastic. The only fantastic lens I have personally owned in 35 was the 50mm dual range Sumicron. It seems to me that the really next level up lenses for Nikon or Canon cost a whole lot of money.
     
  9. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    Tell me what you didn't like about the Canon 50mm 1.4? That might help me understand why you just don't expand your Canon setup. I've shot both, and while there are differences, if you're looking to save cash maybe you should just expand the Canon. You'd save more that way, certainly.
     
  10. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    Back in 1982, our family was out at a tree farm cutting down our Christmas tree when my old Mamiya-Sekor 1000 DTL went "clunk" - and died.

    I had had it repaired once before, so I knew that even it was repairable, the cost would be more than I paid for it. So sadly, I recognized that the time had come to move on to something else.

    In those days, Modern Photography published a listing in the December issue of all current camera models by the major manufacturers. So I started out by making a list of the features that I wanted in my new system. (One of the required features was that I wanted something that would last a long time.). I then compared that list with the features in the index in Modern Photography. Based on that primitive spreadsheet analysis, I concluded that the right camera for me was a Nikon FM-2.

    Switching to Nikon naturally meant that all the lenses and accessories that I had accumulated for the Mamiya-Sekor would be obsolete. They didn't have much trade-in value, but I decided to take a minimalist approach with the new system, so I came away with a much lighter camera bag.

    Looking back at the experience, I learned three things:

    1. The process was excellent. If I had to do it again, I would do it the same way.
    2. The Nikon FM-2 was the perfect choice - for me. And its still going strong today.
    3. And that bit about forswearing GAS - - - I meant well, but that disease never goes away.
     
  11. Jason Mekeel

    Jason Mekeel Member

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    Have you considered a m-format SLR? I shoot a 6x4.5 SLR and I do not find it much more difficult than shooting a 35mm SLR
     
  12. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    I've got to agree with the others who recommend sticking with the Canon FD system. Their FD lenses are just as good as the Nikkor AI / AIS equivalents and sell for less. About the only argument I can make for the Nikon bodies is that there seems to be more of them available and service can be had for almost all of them. I'm less sure that's the case for the Canon FD bodies, but I could be wrong there.
     
  13. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I would keep the Contax and Zeiss lenses. I think the aesthetic is different between Zeiss and Nikon/Canon and the results won't be any better. I would be surprised of you got $1800 by the way but maybe you already have a buyer. I would try to unload the Canon system and maybe pick up a Fuji or Bronica medium format rangefinder.
     
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  15. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I was in a similar situation about 20 years ago. I had a really nice Rolleiflex 35mm system: SL35E's, SL2000, Zeiss lenses from 16f2.8 up to 135f2.8, including the 35, 50, and 85 f1.4's. Incredible lenses, but the Rollei bodies were just not dependable enough for professional use. I had sent them in for service several times but the same problems kept recurring, so after one last botched shoot I decided to make the big switch. I sold all the Rollei gear to somebody... maybe KEH, maybe B&H, I don't remember... and started building a Nikon system with an FE2 that I found for sale new for $75! Bought a 105mmf1.8 new, as well as an MD12 and SB16B flash. Later I added more used lenses and bodies from KEH until I had a decent system.
    It was a good switch for me because of the problems with the bodies, but I sure miss those Zeiss lenses! In your situation, I would not switch unless there were problems with the camera bodies. Their being out of production might be the determining factor in your decision. Yes, the Nikons that have been mentioned are out of production too, but there are lots more of them around than there are Contaxes.
     
  16. white.elephant

    white.elephant Member

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    I would, too. Hell, I've been looking at that system and thinking about getting one, so I must be missing something because I'm still not sure why you want to switch. Nikon is great, no argument there, but those Zeiss lenses, yow.
     
  17. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Shouldn't there be a poll in this thread?

    If your not shooting 35mm that often don't waste your time and energy.

    I think if you need extra money for the documentary stuff either sell some photo's, some personal items or get a part time job for a few months. Shoveling snow is a good part time job btw. Good exercise.

    I sincerely wouldn't base my judgment on using one lens, and a 50mm at that. Maybe a short zoom but not a 50mm.

    I'd upgrade one of your bodies to get that incorporated light meter. A FD body would be a smart choice at their recent prices.

    I've shot Nikon AF and manual for a long time and their just as blasé after the honeymoon is over. I'm now shooting an M3 and a FTbn and I prefer the Canon for mirror lockup in an SLR.
     
  18. jordanstarr

    jordanstarr Member

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    Thanks guys for all your opinions so far. For the Canon FD system I have an F1 body 20mm f2.8 ssc, 35mm f2.0 ssc, and a 50mm f1.4 ssc. Though it is a good system, I feel that the Nikon has a better range of lenses for what I'm looking for and I've seen a lot of good examples shot with Nikon systems (I know great shots come from great photographers, but I also know that equipment helps). Ontop of that, my F1 body has some light leakage (even after I replaced the seals) and the meter doesn't work. So, I figured I would give into curiousity and try a Nikon, but seeing the prices means it's going to be a pricey experiment.

    I think a good point was raised about the history of the equipment. Another good point about taking up some extra work for cash. Maybe if a Nikon comes up for an incredible price I could try it out and re-sell it, just to put my mind at ease. I think I'm lucky as a lot of people out there who are probably grinding their teeth reading that someone is switching from a Zeiss system to a Nikon and would probably sell me their Nikon gear for a plane ticket to Edmonton to break my nose.
     
  19. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    While I personally prefer both Nikon F and Canon FD systems to Contax, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. Just shoot with what you have when the spirit strikes you, and call it good. It sounds like a convoluted way to get some free cash.
     
  20. cdholden

    cdholden Member

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    I can echo the thoughts of others when it comes to praise for the FD system. But if you're concerned about larger prints, why not sell your Contax/Zeiss kit and stick to your medium and/or large format gear? Obviously, your subject of choice should play a part in that decision, but it's something that you need to decide. Pick the right tool for the job... unless you're just one of those strange ones that's sitting in the basement, stroking your gear.
     
  21. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    I think the condition of your F1 is the problem. Just get another one.
     
  22. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Member

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    To hell with them! It's your gear and it's your choice. Having owned all sorts of cameras over the years (by brand, format and medium) photography is, at least for me, about the fun of experimentation when creating an image. For the life of me, I can't understand badge snobs.

    Going Nikon needn't be an expensive option. There's a retailer in the uk called Aperture and they're currently selling off loads of F3 kit (probably taken too much of it in P/Ex) and lenses to go with it. Nice guys and possibly worth an e-mail to see what they've got that might suit your needs....especially with the £sterling dropping like a stone!

    http://www.apertureuk.com/

    Good luck and all the best for the festive season.
     
  23. waynecrider

    waynecrider Member

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    Jordan I was thinking that if you want to get into Nikon on the sly you might consider a bargain condition body from KEH and rent a lens that you may have an interest in according to reviews. If any rental lens pans out for you you'll have a body to work off of till you snoop a lens and eventually a better body. I'd watch tho any auction site, no return policy body as usually the older equipment most likely will require a cla, if not for the seals at least for the metering. By the time that's done your toe dabbling will have you invested into another system just to be confident to use it. At least with KEH you'll have a return policy in case it turns out to be a money sink hole and they do have extended warranties. There's bodies earlier then a FM2 that go real reasonable. At FM2 they spike up. Just make sure you get one that takes silver oxide batteries. If you can stomach something lighter, AF and newer the N80's with their F100 based metering systems are cheaper then some K1000's. I own two in addition to many other bodies and mine are always loaded and sitting on the table. No problems after 3 years but their not heavily used. Still a cheap investment that shoots G lenses, has DOF preview, incorporated flash and can be passed down in the family without a thought.
     
  24. Steve Bellayr

    Steve Bellayr Member

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    Nikons are like rocks. I don't even use a camera bag for mine. The F3HP is plentiful as are the lenses. The removable prism is a very nice addition that permits you to shoot from low angles.
     
  25. SilverGlow

    SilverGlow Member

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    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it true that Nikon lacks fast primes on the wide end? And by fast I mean faster then F2...
     
  26. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Yes; they do not. God bless Nikon, but they have never caught up to Canon in the autofocus age. Their cameras (especially the non-pro ones) and software handle about as smoothly as a Gameboy, at least in my hands (I suck at video games, BTW). Their lens selection makes me want to cry. Where are the pro-build autofocus 24 1.4 and 35 1.4? How is it that a pre-AI lens has more functionality mounted to a Canon EOS body than to a new Nikon body? Ridiculous. Incredibly frustrating, as there are a lot of little things I really like about Nikon pro bodies. From my POV, they just don't offer the big picture as well as Canon does.
     
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