What's your recommended Nikon FX camera?

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Hannah Espineda 10 months ago.

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    Hannah Espineda

    Hi there!

    I am looking to upgrade my Canon T3 to a full frame camera and considering a switch to Nikon as well. I am looking for a camera that will give sharp images for outdoor AND indoor in-action shots, and serve well for portraits too. So I have a couple questions:
    1. Do you see a difference using full frame vs. crop sensor?
    2. Is there a significant benefit in having more auto-focus points and more MP?
    3. What is your #1 equipment investment for getting tack sharp indoor photos?
    4. Now, what would be your best recommended camera and lens combo for under $2000?

    The Nikon D750 sounded good to me. Has anyone had experience with or owned this camera?

    I’d love to hear from your experiences!



    Ezra Morley

    I am looking to upgrade my Canon T3 to a full frame camera and considering a switch to Nikon as well.

    Wow, that will be a HUGE jump to go from a T3 straight to a full-frame, and a different system, at that! Is there a particular reason that you’re wanting to jump ship to Nikon? šŸ™‚ I used to own a Rebel T3, and I must say, even my Pentax K-5IIs was a pretty big jump up from that!

    Question, do you already have Canon lenses that you’ll have to replace with Nikon equivalents? That will be a factor in your decision, if you’re having to buy new lenses as well as a new camera.

    1. There’s definitely a difference between crop vs full-frame sensor, I’m sure James will be able to tell you that. One of the big things is more pronounced DOF: bokeh will look nicer, (and conversely, it might be harder to get stuff in focus at wider apertures). Secondly, it might not be huge, but FF/FX sensors tend to do better in low light, since they have larger photosites compared to their crop sensor equivalents.
    2. One “feature” of expensive full-frame cameras is having tons of focus points all over the viewfinder. I’m sure for the pros they’re great, but all of my photos have been taken with 9-11 focus points, and I don’t see that as a major reason to upgrade your camera on it’s own. šŸ™‚ Same goes for MP, if you have 16 or more, you’ll be fine. No need to get a new camera just because it has 36 MP; if you never print photos, you could easily get by with a 4 MP camera!
    3. For getting tack sharp indoor photos, a speed-light would be one of my suggestions. Bounce it off of a white ceiling or wall, and you’ll get some lovely diffused lighting to work with. You can get all-manual speedlights for less than $100.

    If you are wanting to upgrade to a more professional camera, there are certainly other options besides going all the way to full-frame. Like I said, my Pentax K-5IIs was a pretty big jump up, and it costs far less than a full-frame! The main things I liked about my new Pentax compared to the T3 were:

    • Much larger and brighter OVF (Optical View Finder)
    • Much better build quality, it just felt like a real camera, instead of a plastic toy. šŸ™‚
    • Much, much better low-light shooting. There was seriously no comparison at higher ISO speeds.
    • Similarly, the overall image quality was much higher. Suffice to say, I was very impressed with the Image Quality.
    • Much higher resolution screen for previewing photos.
    • Much faster continuous shooting (7 fps vs. 3 fps) Actually, I almost never need that speed, but it’s still nice. šŸ™‚
    • Better battery life. (The T3 has some of the best battery life of any entry-level camera, but the Pentax is better yet!) I recently got ~800 shots out of one battery charge.

    There are lots more advantages, which you can peruse at your leisure here: http://snapsort.com/compare/Canon-T3-vs-Pentax-K-5-IIs/detailed

    What I’m trying to say is this. You don’t have to jump all the way to full-frame to get a very nice upgrade, without the expense of top-of-the-line Pro equipment. (FX lenses tend to cost a lot more than crop frame lenses).

    The K-5 IIs is a little bit old now, but there are a couple of newer crop sensor options… Canon 80D, Nikon D7200, Pentax K-3 II, and so on. Any of the cameras mentioned above will be a very significant upgrade from a T3, and you’ll have some funds left over to get a high quality lens, (which will be an even better investment), and a flash! šŸ™‚


    Hannah Espineda

    Thank you for the insights here! Yes, I realize the jump to FX might sound ridiculous. But I figured, hey, if I’m going to upgrade, why not go for the highest quality possible? If I’m going to shoot, then I’m going to do my best, not produce <100% results šŸ™‚ Eventually I would like to be shooting full frame, and the results I’m getting with my T3 make me skeptical to try anything else crop sensor lol. However, I do want to make a wise investment and not spend more than necessary.

    I find myself shooting alot of moving subjects, so I want a camera/lens that will perform well in those situations.

    More bokeh/blurred background is high on the priority list for me!

    The switch to Nikon is because a friend shoots a Nikon and is willing to share lenses with me. I’ve been playing around with her D80 and 50mm 1.8f. LOVE the outdoor results for portraits, but anything moving fast (like outdoor youth games) or anything moving at all indoors (like walking toddler) has been close to impossible to get stark clear.

    A speed light is an interesting idea. I haven’t experienced with one of those. It would be a nice idea as long as it doesn’t white out the subject (the way a flash does).

    I actually did consider the Canon 80D, before I thought about switching to full frame šŸ™‚

    You mentioned the Nikon D7200. Have you personally used that camera? How would you compare the quality and clarity of photos to the T3?


    Ezra Morley

    Eventually I would like to be shooting full frame, and the results Iā€™m getting with my T3 make me skeptical to try anything else crop sensor lol.

    My post was to try to correct that idea. šŸ™‚ I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised with a high-end crop sensor camera like the ones I mentioned above.

    If you want nicer blurred backgrounds, then buying a new lens can be a good way to accomplish that. A 50mm f/1.8 is wonderful for pretty bokeh, and if you’re wanting to go with even higher-end stuff, Sigma’s ART line of fast lenses are expensive, but they’ll get you a look that very few lenses can give wide open. šŸ™‚

    If you’re wanting to capture action, you’ll definitely want a wider lens than a 50mm. The longer your focal length is, the more easily the photo will be blurred. (Camera shake and subject motion are both affected by longer focal lengths.) So… go wide! Get a lens that goes down to 18mm or even less, and learn to take advantage of the “Shutter Speed Priority” mode on your Mode Dial. You should be choosing a fast enough shutter speed, not the camera. With a newer crop sensor camera, you can easily push the ISO to 1600 (or even higher) if you need to, to freeze the motion. It might be a tad grainy, but I much prefer a little grain that can be post-processed, than blur, which is un-fixable.

    I shot a whole wedding one time at ISO 1,000 with my Pentax K-5 IIs (and a couple of speedlights). I would never have tried that with my Canon T3. Here’s a 100% crop so you can see what ISO 1,000 looks like on a Sony sensor. (Pentax and Nikon both use Sony’s excellent sensors.)

    There is some grain visible, especially in the dark black of the suit, but remember we’re pixel-peeping here. No one who sees this photo resized to about 1 MP (a common resolution for web-sized photos) will even know that it’s grainy. I could print that photo up to 8.5×11 inches, and you probably still wouldn’t notice at a normal viewing distance.

    Come to think of it, I did a noise comparison test between the two before I sold my T3, which you can view here:
    Also, check out more details and specs here:

    Do you shoot for pay? Would you say that your photography is just a hobby, or would you call it a job? If you’re making a tidy little income from your camera, then I could see why jumping to full-frame might be useful, but honestly, I don’t think it’s worth the money just for a hobby. I would way sooner spend $1,000 on a good lens than upgrade the body, and be stuck with a sub-quality lens to use on it.

    The reason to love a speedlight instead of the horrid on-camera flash is that you can aim the speedlight wherever you want to. You’re not stuck with one solitary angle, (straight-on), but you can bounce, and wrap, and soften and modify the light any way you want to. Plus, a speedlight puts out a whole lot more power than the on-board flash, so you can use lower aperture and ISO values, and get better results.

    I have not personally used the D7200, but in many ways my Pentax K-5 IIs is similar, and they actually compare quite well. The D7200 is also newer, so as far as specs go, it’s an even better camera than my Pentax in almost every way! So if I was impressed with the difference between my Pentax, and the Canon T3, then the difference between the T3 and the D7200 should be even greater!

    It definitely pays to do your research before plunking down a thousand or two for some new equipment. Keep asking questions, if we know the answers, I’m sure you’ll hear them. šŸ™‚

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 3 months ago by  Ezra Morley.

    James Staddon

    Wow, a lot to talk about there in those 4 initial questions!

    1. Do you see a difference using full frame vs. crop sensor?

    The MAIN reason I shoot full frame (and will probably never return to a cropped sensor) is because wide angle is truly wide angle. When I’m shooting at 17mm, it’s truly 17mm, not 27mm.

    Secondly, it’s the size of the pixels, like @buddingphotographer mentioned before. The biggerer the pixels on the sensor, the higher quality and better noise control you will have.

    Perhaps I can plan to be available Friday evening after the Sacramento Conference Photography Team during teardown to talk in person about these things if you haven’t already upgrade before then. šŸ™‚


    Matthew Stevens

    I just upgraded from a D7100 to a D750. Both are great cameras, the main reason for the upgrade was that I do a lot of night time photography, astro etc., as well as some indoor stuff in dark places (auditoriums). The D7100 does a good job under these circumstances with a fast lens (just ask James, he’s seen what it can do), but the low light performance in the D750 is AMAZING. Large sensor=larger light receptors=more light gathering power. It’s also much less noisy at high ISO (you can get reasonable photos at 12800, which is impossibly high for a dx sensor).

    If you were to go with the D750, I’d do a kit like this one https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1082604-REG/nikon_d750_dslr_camera_with.html with the 24-120mm f/4. It’s a great lense, and good combo for general shooting.

    If you were to go DX, you can’t really go wrong with the D7100/7200. The sensors are outstanding, and even in low light they do a good job. FX is going to be better just because of physics, but I’ve shot tons of astro and event stuff in dark situations with my 7100 over the last 4 years, and it holds it’s own.

    Incidentally I have a d7100 and a couple of lenses sitting on my desk looking for a buyer… šŸ™‚

    But, if you’ve got the cash – go with the D750, you won’t regret it at all.


    James Staddon

    Now there’s some experiential advice for ya, @hannahe! Thank you @mrstevens.


    James Staddon

    Hey @hannahe, seeing as you have joined PRO since asking your initial 4 question, I wanted to follow up and ask if you’ve received satisfactory answers or if you’d like me to tackle these questions in more detail. Let me know! It’s great to have you on board!


    Hannah Espineda

    Wow! I really have not kept up to date on this thread! Thank you for the replies!!

    I see @mrstevens has experience with the Nikon D750, which is a body I’ve been considering. Can I ask why you chose the full frame D750, rather than a higher end DX crop sensor body, like the D500? I was chatting with an Adorama rep who stated that he chose the D7200 and D500 (both DX) over the D750! He had outdoor football game photos at night to prove what his D7200 could do at 6400 ISO with his 70-200 2.8 lens. They were crisp clear!
    Have you done any action shots with your D750? How does it perform for action in low light or indoors? I need a camera that will do good for action (evening youth activities outdoors, fast moving children and animals, karate indoors, etc.) and also work great for portraits. My lens is the Tamron 70-200 2.8.

    The D750’s ISO goes to 12,800. The D7200 goes to 25,600. Both do about 6 fps, while the D500 does 10 fps.

    D750 with battery grip and accessories is going for $1497 here ($985 instant rebate): https://www.adorama.com/inkd750g.html?EmailPrice=T
    D7200 is $797 body only and $997 with kit lenses: https://www.adorama.com/inkd7200k2a.html?CategoryID=68808

    So, those of you who have experienced the differences between crop sensor and full frame, is it worth it to pay the extra for full frame? What’s your top reason for your choice? šŸ™‚

    Thanks for sharing your experiences!


    James Staddon

    For me, the main reason I shoot full frame is to get the wider angle for landscape shots. A 17mm lens is truly 17mm.

    This also means I feel more comfortable hand-holding slower shutter speeds in low-light situations: if 50mm is really 50mm, then I will step closer to a subject to frame the shot and feel comfortable (carefully!) shooting between 1/30th and 1/50th; if 50mm is actually 80mm (on a 1.6x sensor), then I will not step closer to a subject to frame the exact same composition, but only feel comfortable using a shutter speed somewhere between 1/50th and 1/80th. (If your subject is moving, then this has no merit at all, seeing it doesn’t take into account subject blur.)

    What you really want is the camera that has the least amount of noise at high ISOs. Usually, this will be the full frame camera, but it’s not always the case. You can only tell by looking at side-by-side comparison shots.

    If you’re shooting action, you’ll really want the 10fps (just be prepared to sort through/delete many, many more pictures than normal….ie. fast computer).


    David Frazer

    Just a quick comment on @jamesstaddon‘s comment about ultra-wide angle lenses… You can get good crop lenses that do the equivalent of 17mm or even 15mm for crop bodies – some common ones are the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 or the Tokina 11-20mm f/2.8 or the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8. The difficulty is not so much the wide angle, but the lens quality. There are few wide-aperture, high-quality, crop sensor zoom lenses that compare to what you can get for full-frame. I shoot quite a bit with the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 and it is fine, but it is my lens with the most optical quality issues in several ways. (If I had 4000$ USD for a full-frame upgrade and the Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8 VC as well as a 24-70 f2.8 I would love it!) Note that 15-30 on full-frame is the same as 10-20 on crop.

    If the Nikon D500 interests you for its 10fps but you need full-frame, the D750 at 6.5 fps is probably the best compromise. Or if you have a big budget šŸ™‚ you could try the D5 at 12-14 fps… or you could settle with the newly-released 45MP D850 at only 7fps (or 9fps with the battery grip). šŸ™‚


    Matthew Stevens

    There’s a couple reasons a sports photographer (which I’d assume the adorama guy was) to choose the D500 over the 750. One is buffer capacity (basically the super fast memory built into the camera, where it stores the data off the sensor momentarily before writing it to the much slower SD card) is larger on the D500. That’s why it can shoot 10fps vs the 6.5 in the 750. Is that important for you? I’m not sure. only you an really answer that. However, I’ve shot with the 7100 and 750, and have never really found it necessary to shoot at 10fps. I am not a sports photographer, and don’t need to freeze action of someone hitting a baseball or making a tackle or whatever. I have shot quite a bit of kids running around like at the ATI conferences, some guys at Nantahala river in kayaks who were doing trick and stuff like that. For kids, 6fps has always been plenty. For the kayakers, I did need it a bit faster. However, I was outside in a well lit area, and figured I wouldn’t need to do much post processing on the images. So I switched the camera to shoot in jpeg, which are smaller files and can shoot faster (since the buffer is big enough to hold many more jpg than raw). That was plenty fast enough for that situation.

    The other reason a lot of the same people who want high frame rates tend to like DX sensors is the crop factor. It means they can get more “reach” out of the same lens. The adorama guy’s 200mm lens is the equivalent to a 300mm lens on a full frame camera. So, it’s better suited for shooting fast, far away subjects like at a football game.

    You *can* shoot at 6400 iso on a crop sensor. And you can make it look ok with some post processing. Personally, I never really went over 3200 most times on my 7100, because I wasn’t happy with the image quality. DX sensors just get grainy at high iso, no getting around it. Because the light receptors on the sensor are smaller than a full frame, the only way to make up for it when shooting in the dark is to boost the iso, essentially taking whatever light is hitting the sensor and amplifying it. If you’ve ever turned the speakers in your car up very loud, you can hear the sound gets distorted. The same happens to the signal coming from the sensor in your camera. If you try to amplify it too much, it gets distorted, and you’ll start to see odd colors and grain show up in your image. The only way to avoid this is physically make the sensor larger – full frame (or medium format, or even larger!) – to capture more light in the first place!

    That leads me to my reasons for buying, and experiences with the 750 vs the 7100. I shoot in a lot of dark places. Much of the time it’s stationary stuff like stars and trees, so fps has never been a priority for me. however, I’ve shot more than my share of speakers at conferences, kids running around at VBS etc. in dimly lit or dark rooms to say that the 6.5fps of those two cameras has pretty much always been adequate. plus, for me, the benefits of the full frame in the D750 MORE than make up for the lower framerate. Is your situation the same? I don’t know, but that should give you something to think about.

    the tl;dr version of all this:

    Crop sensors are good for fast frame rates and gaining some extra reach from your lenses
    Full frame are better in low light.
    Imo, the D750 is just about the perfect balance of camera for just about every situation. It’s not the best at one or the other. Dedicated sports pros might want the D500, D4s, etc. Dedicated landscape pros might be better served by the D810. But, for me who shoots a little of everything, but likes landscapes and shoot often in low light, the D750 is hard to beat.

    You might check this article out, it probably will answer other questions you might have. https://photographylife.com/reviews/nikon-d750/7


    Hannah Espineda

    Thanks guys for all the super helpful info! It is so helpful to learn from the experience of others šŸ™‚ I appreciate all the links here as well. The discussion here has helped me narrow down what I need in a camera. Least amount of noise at high ISOs and clarity in low light situations (and all the time!) are my top priorities. The D750 may just be the best option within budget. From your experiences here, it sounds like it has plenty of ability for action. I will prayerfully finalize my decision as I choose a camera that will serve the Lord most effectively šŸ™‚

    Thank you all again!!

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