I am interested in experimenting with a Nikon PC-E lens (by renting NOT buying!) and I can pair it with an F100, D3100 or D70 body. According to Ken Rockwell's page Nikon 24mm PC-E Compatibility the lens should mount on the F100 and D70 but the rise will be limited to 6mm (I'd expect that the D3100 would be the same). Ken's page says that the only bodies where the rise can reach the full 11.5mm are the D3 and D300, and that he also suggests that non-full frame bodies won't make full use of the lens.
My main interest in experimenting is for some architectural shots, but I don't know how the limited rise will restrict my experimentation. Of course I could avoid this problem by using the camera upside down! So my questions are:
What sort of restrictions could I expected with the limited rise? (or should I just get a bracket to mount the camera upside down?)
What would I be missing out on by using the lens on a non-full frame body? (and while the F100 is full frame - using film to experiment with kind of defeats the purpose of wanting instant feedback)
24mm, 45mm or 85mm lens for all around learning?
While I am not endorsing Adorama (but I have been known to be a customer there!), I found this instructional video that compliments my question: Tilt-Shift Lens—AdoramaTV
OK While Oliver's answer also bares merit due to his experience with his D700, I gave Michael's answer the nod due to adding information that I hadn't even considered, and for pointing out that the Nikon product seems a bit deficient compared to the Canon in this area.
Update after using the TS-E for the first time
I just finished a weeks rental of
- Canon EOS 5D mark III
- Canon TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II Ultra Wide Tilt-Shift Lens
- Tamron 90mm f/2.8 SP Di Macro lens
The Tamron macro was partially to ease me into using a Canon (I have a cupboard full of Nikon gear), and partially to fulfill another project. But the main event was the Tilt/Shift lens.
All I can say is that I am in love with the TS-E, and feel a bit dirty that the Nikon equivalent isn't as flexible. I had some apprehension about understanding and using the Tilt/Shift capabilities, but after watching the Adorama video a couple of times and then playing around with the lens for only a very short time it all seemed to fall into place. I was blown away the first time I saw the Scheimpflug principle visibly come into play and now I know that I have to get me some of this action somehow. I also saw as per one of Michaels comments that you really do need both shift and tilt at the same time.
The only "complaint" I have with the 24mm lens I rented was that by the time I got close enough to tall subjects I sometimes ran out of shift and tilt adjustment. I suspect that with longer TS lenses, and being further away from the subject that this wouldn't be an issue - but that's for another time.
Finally, I haven't handled a Nikon camera of the same caliber as the EOS 5D, but it really didn't take me long to feel comfortable with the ergonomics and layout of the Canon compared to my old D70 or F100, and to see/appreciate a number of features that I really want in my next major camera purchase.