Monday, January 14, 2013

DX Advantage: Look at What Fits in a Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home Bag

Thom Hogan made a big splash in the Nikon community with his "DX Month" series of articles. And even though the market is trending towards smaller and more mirrorless cameras, the DX format still has size advantages of its own. Most of these are apparent to owners of Nikon cameras, but I thought this one picture would be a good visual indication.

True to their flamboyant corporate image, no matter how respectable the outside looks, Crumpler can't resist splashing the colour around on the insides of their bags.

The Crumpler 5 Million Dollar Home is a modest sized bag, similar to other messenger bags of this sort. In front of that you see a Nikon D7000 with a Tokina AF 50-135mm f/2.8 AT-X Pro DX attached to it. Yes, that's right, you can insert this camera/body combination vertically into a typical messenger-type bag without having to disassemble the lens. The lid closes snugly, but without having to stretch the top panel, and there's still room for two extra lenses on the sides. It's a real treat to be able to carry the classic 70-200mm working zoom range tucked away in side bag, and lets you move around in situations with a casualness that you can't afford with larger and heavier equipment. You can have your camera discretely at your side, bring it out with it ready to shoot, and then pop it back in your bag. You go from civilian to photographer to civilian in seconds.

Gorillapod Zoom on the left, camera in middle, Tamron 17-50 tucked away on right.

The FX equivalent of this rig would be the D600 with a AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED VR. However, this is where the difference in size comes into play. A D7000 is 77mm (3 inches) deep. The Tokina is 135mm long, making for a total depth of 212mm. A D600 is 82mm deep, with the 70-200 f/4 being 180mm* for a total depth of 262mm. In other words, the equivalent FX setup is 50mm longer, or just enough to make storing in a bag awkward. If you were using the f/2.8 version of this lens, the entire package would be 15mm longer still. 

Of course, if you are paying attention, you'll probably have remembered a few things:

  • The Tokina 50-135 is discontinued
  • Nikon doesn't make an equivalent of this focal length
  • Sigma's competing 50-150 f2.8 OS HSM isn't exactly small either. 

Which goes back to what Thom Hogan was writing about. Nikon's DX lineup isn't a complete system. You have to supplement it with FX lenses and third-party manufacturers to realize it's true potential. Carrying a D600 and a normal zoom in an everyday messenger bag isn't a big deal, but it's hard to be discreet with lenses longer than that.

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