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Four reasons why choosing camera body is more important than it seems

Author: zwieciu user
About zwieciu See full profile >>
Country: Switzerland
More on: flickr

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Many articles on the web tell you that the choice of camera body doesn’t matter because photographers change their bodies much more often than lenses. In this article I’d like to offer a different point of view.

First, a body without lenses is not very useful so when we first choose a body we always pick one or a few lenses to start with and this way the choice of lenses is a consequence of the choice of the body we make. Next lenses in line tend to complement the ones we bought with the body.

Second, digital SLRs are now a mature technology (unlike 4-5 years ago) and choice of a body becomes much more important since there’s not anymore a good reason to switch to the latest camera model every 2 years as we had been used to doing.

Third, with the important switch of Canon, Nikon, Sony to full frame for high-end cameras, this choice becomes much more important because upgrading crop cameras (smaller sensor) to full-frame practically means that you’ll need to replace all or a majority of lenses even if you decide to stick with the same manufacturer and mount. Here I have to admit Nikon wasn’t honest to their customers when saying the future was with the DX (crop) format and that there was no need to go to full-frame. As it turned out (and could be predicted by their consistent lack of primes for the DX format) with Nikon D700 they changed their policy and now support full-frame for a wider range of users. Although technically the differences in quality are not so important, the biggest difference is that the DX format doesn’t offer lenses for photographers like myself who like to shoot with primes only. Actually, the offer of zooms is also much better for full-frame, especially with all the zooms for film cameras on the second-hand market.

Another argument which can be made is that new photographers need a few years before finding the style which will suit them best. We mostly start with cheap zooms, the wider the focal range the better, then we discover we may like extreme wide-angle or telephoto shots, or we like bright lenses for the narrow depth of field or possibility to take night shots. Or, perhaps, we don’t like carrying around heavy and huge universal zooms around and would much rather switch to discrete small, light (and cheap!) primes. Such discoveries usually mean we are forced to buy new lenses or replace existing ones.

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Average rating: 3.21  Votes: 43  Your rating:

17-03-2011 06:30 Filterxpert user

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Country: United States
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I still think you are making a strong point about Know what lenses you will use then select the body. A perfect example is Nikon. Consumer level bodies have no motor which requires lenses with AF-s or HSM or BIM. These typically are 20% higher in cost at the fast glass level. I think point and shooters know what they like to photograph already it is whether they will discover something new and grow in that way. Many friends of mine shoot older glass on full frame because it works well and the lenses are reliable. It's not Nikon's fault that technology has advanced and made full frame more affordable. Some pros even shoot medium sensor now because they need the detail for billboards and posters hurray for them! Nikon's point is well taken for family and enthusiast photographers, You will not need to go to full frame, the APC sensor is just that good. Now as far as Motor in the body or no motor that is another consideration not mentioned above. Sigma solves this with their primes and HSM is the keyword to look for for D40,D60,D3K,D5K type bodies. Nikon is moving more carefully than in the past they almost want to see the market grow and then they build the lens. With the release of 5 new lenses this year they are filling the Gap expensively for pros. I still think the budget for lenses is the determining factor for most enthusiasts. For Consumers the kits are king and that usually includes the inexpensive 18-55 vr. Some Kits come with 70-300 VR now but that is usually 850-1K.

23-08-2011 09:20 Jon Collins user

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Country: United Kingdom
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Yes but I was de heartened for the first year of DSLR because nothing I took ever matched that of my old 35mm Nikon. Those kit zoom lenses are just so bad I think it can put a lot of people off developing their interesting in photography further. If bodies still came with a nifty fifty then the quality of photos would be higher. It wasn't till I realised i need some good prime lenses that I regained my interested in photography. Therefore I believe the glass is more important than body. In fact I would far rather be shooting on 35mm if it didn't cost so much to get processed.

30-07-2012 15:06 felix user

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Country: Philippines
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balance in all aspects is the key. get to know the body and use it to its full potential plus clean glass resultant are great photos. nothing expensive. no mega pixel hype. just plain enjoyment and fullfillment

27-09-2012 21:27 Agis user

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Country: Greece
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I feel the same as you zwieciu.I like to shoot with primes. I am traped with a D300s. Hopefuly i have a standard 35 1.8 dx, but my favorite prime is 24mm (35mm on full frame). I wish Nikon had a good 24mm dx lens as sony zeiss 24mm 1.8, but i dont think it will make such one in near future.

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About the author zwieciu

Country: Switzerland
More on: flickr
Lenses (owned): Nikon 20mm F/2.8 Nikon 35mm F/2 Nikon 50mm F/1.8 Nikon 85mm F/1.8 Nikon 300mm F/4 Olympus 17mm F/2.8
Cameras (owned): Nikon D700 Olympus E-P1

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