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Advice Please

First, sorry for long post, but figured more info is better.

My experience was doing a lot of the shooting and majority of darkroom work for the high school paper and yearbook using mostly Minolta SLRs. Then had a Canon AE1 Program but it was stolen, then jumped into Nikon; FM2, FE2 and N8008. I actually did some senior pictures for some of my class mates and had several paid gigs ( I was high school, so it was like $10 and cost of film) to shoot family portraits. As work and life took away most of my free time, I sold all that off over a decade ago, now using a Panasonic DMC-ZS7, but always want more out of my photos.

So i'm thinking of dipping my toe back into SLRs (DSLRs). Doing some research it seems like Mirror less cameras are starting to pick up steam. My big concern is buying into a crop sensor DSLR eco system of lenses and then possibly having to replace them if I ever move to mirror less. I guess I have the following questions if anyone can help me out?
  1. If mirror less really takes off fast, how long would you expect the current DSLRs to be relevant/supported?
  2. At first it seemed to me like all mirror less cameras were also full frame, but it looks like some are still crop sensor, is that correct?
The current price of mirror less is out of my $ range, so not really an issue now, but I don't know what 1 or 2 years brings.

What do I want to do with my new gear you say?
  • Hobby mostly
  • Nature photos
  • General family gathering photos
  • Maybe enter a few contests
  • Portraits for friends and family, maybe some paid shots, but not looking for a career
My budget, is pretty wide. Maybe starting at D3400 or D5600, but could see wanting a D7500 or the next version of it. Either way I know that lenses are important investment and if I start with a D3400 my first lens purchase (Nikon 50mm at f 1.4) is likely to cost more than the body.

Any knowledge, thoughts or hints you can provide are greatly appreciated.




I'm a Lumberjack.
Ill be following this thread with interest
My nikon d400 broke. The camera repair place said no parts available any more. She then burst my bubble saying these days they are good for 3-5 years. (Based in part availability) Its not like the old days when a 35 mm camera lasted a lifetime or at least decades
I have a d7100 and am perfectly happy with it. A crop sensor is not an issue, as far as I can tell. I printed a very cropped area at 13x19 next the a similarly cropped image from a full frame image. My dad, who has the D800, and I could not see any difference. I use a couple full frame lenses and all is good.

I have not felt the call toward mirrorless as I am quite happy with my kit. The oldest lens I have is over 16 years old and works perfectly.

Mirrorless is a technological upgrade of the rangefinder. The idea is that wide angles cover the frame much better if one loses the required retrofocus distance mandated by the mirror. Back when, as in the 1950s, the SLR came along because of framing difficulties with telephoto lenses on a rangefinder. See, the RFs had a separate window to look thru to frame them.

Back in The Day, photogs tended to use RFs with wide angle lenses, and SLRs with longer glass. That said, Nikon had a great little 21mm lens for the original F SLR which required the mirror to be locked up and a viewfinder mounted to the top of the camera to frame it. This, because the lens stuck into the body just short of the shutter curtains. This, because it was an F mount version of the 21mm from the S series rangefinder.

So, fast forward to today. The Mirrorless DSL. No R, because no Reflex. ;) It sees from the lens and sends it to a viewing screen. Now they can all go back to lenses that come as close to the sensor as necessary. And, they seem to have adapters that stick the flange out where it would be with a reflex mirror box to use SLR lenses. Kind of the best of both worlds. We'll see how that all plays out.

Me, I am sticking with DSLRs because I have so many lenses for one already. I have been at this since 1973. It actually predates my beginning to shave in 1976. :p And, most of my kit are manual focus Nikon AI, so I need the AI ring and the Nikon mirrorless does not offer that. Plus, I have been into the DSLR world since 1998 and the Nikon E2 (predates the D1). Not changing now.

As far as Full Frame goes, that is rather a misnomer. They are 135 format is all. The smaller sensor is simply 124 format. Beyond 135 sits 645 format, aka Medium Format. And there are more formats, of course, offering digital. All come from the film days.

And, just to confuse things, 124 format has two variants: APS-C and APS-H. See, the Advanced Photographic System offered magnetic data strips along with the film. Known as IX (Infomation Xchange), it gave one some of what we see as EXIF data - on film. If you had that, the film area was called C for Classic. But, one could shoot with APS all film and no mag strip. That was called H for High Definition. Some DSLRs were APS-H, with a larger sensor than APS-C. Kodak had many such offerings, and Canon's 1D was APS-H.

There was a third APS format: P for Panoramic. Don't see that in digital. Actually, APS was a huge leap forward at the time, and that leap saw it smash head-on into digital and die. Kind of sad, really. Now all that remains are some letters used to denote digital sensor sizes.....

If we go back to the 135 format lenses, aka Full Frame, we use Photo Length Multiplier numbers for the APS size sensors. C is 1.5x and H is 1.3x. Both of which act a little different compared to each other as well as when compared to 135.

These days, they all make lenses for APS-C which aren't good on 135. Or, APS-H for that matter. I have three DSLRs I use, one in each format. I use 135 format lenses on all of them. My wife has an APS-C DSLR and one matching lens. She has two others which are 135. They all work just fine in the end.

So, back to mirrorless, I think you would just need to stick with 135 format lenses on one of those adapters and you would be OK. And, expect to buy matching mirrorless lenses for wide angles.

I don't see DSLRs going away, nor APS-C, ever. The only thing I see going away are the screwdriver autofocus and the aperture ring. I think mirrorless will gain ground once there are some native wide angle lenses for them. There is plenty of room for them to exist alongside DSLRs.

if you have the most common autofocus Nikon lenses, the F mount, and you decide you want to go mirrorless, the Nikon Z series is very impressive.. 45 mp, and you can use those F mount lenses. coes with a hefty price, over 3K. the Z6 is a 24MP camera and is 2K.. the lens adapter is probably another 200
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Just keep in mind with Nikon, you need F-series AF lenses with internal AFS motors for use with the Z series to have auto focus. The adapter does not have an internal motor to drive the screwdriver type of AF lens, all of which become manual focus when used on the adapter.

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