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  1. #1

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    Thinking of switching to Nikon.

    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. #2
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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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.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  3. #3
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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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.
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  4. #4
    aparat's Avatar
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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. #5

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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. #6
    Rob Skeoch's Avatar
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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
    Rob Skeoch
    This is my blog http://thepicturedesk.blogspot.com/
    This my website for photo supplies...
    www.bigcameraworkshops.com
    This is my website for Rangfinder gear
    www.rangefinderstore.com

  7. #7

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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. #8
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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. #9
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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.
    Chris Klug
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    My photo life story: http://patternsoflightndark.com/wordpress/

  10. #10
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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.
    Louie

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