Total Upgrade or Glass Only ...

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Abraxsis, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. Abraxsis macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #1
    Ive found myself in a position to be able to afford some photography upgrades. However, Im torn between a complete overhaul of bodies and mid-level lenses, or just focus on higher end glass. I could effectively snag a D300 and some acceptable glass, or focus entirely on pro level glass. Another option is middle of the road, D90 plus a few choice lenses ranging from pro to average. My focus in photography is usually landscape, some studio work, but mostly outdoor ambient light stuff. I'm looking for lower light situations (like under a forest canopy), good contrasty images, and pleasing bokeh. Also wanting to get into video, but that isn't a primary goal. Opinions?
     
  2. anubis macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 7, 2003
    #2
    You already know that this is a pro-glass forum ;)
     
  3. Phrasikleia macrumors 601

    Phrasikleia

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    Feb 24, 2008
    Location:
    Over there------->
    #3
    So true. :D

    Lenses are the most fun and are the best investment. Get a new camera body only if it solves a real problem for you.
     
  4. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #4
    What will the new body do for you? It might make your photos easier to take but it won't necessarily make them better (depending on where you start from).

    Great glass makes getting shots easier, and definitely makes pictures better!
     
  5. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    Yeah, I was leaning towards pro-glass, but with the D80 and the D200 bodies I own I just thought it might be good to get some second opinions. I know the high ISO performance is obviously better in the D90 and D300, larger bracketing, and obviously the addition of HD video is a plus, but glass is probably the way to go. I may unload the the D80 and pick up a D90 anyways, then I can get HD video and the pro-glass, with minimal investment on the new D90.
     
  6. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

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    #6
    <edited by me>

    Doylem shoots his landscapes over in POTD with a D200 and a kit lens. I think your body should be fine, it is one of Nikon's better units. Pick up the best glass you can afford.

    Dale
     
  7. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
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    with Hamburglar.
    #7
    I'm not sure what you are getting at with your reference to me, Designer Dale. My purchasing choices and technique should be irrelevant to the advice we are giving here. (Then again, sarcasm and intent are tough to gauge with typed text!)

    Most photogs here are generally of the consensus that a great lens on the least expensive body will almost always yield better results than a crappy lens on the most expensive body. Go for the glass! If you need need need high ISO performance, that might be a different story, but for most people - it won't. Great glass can sometimes compensate for not having high ISO. A Nikon D80 at ISO800 with a fast f/2.8 lens could produce the same shutter speed ability as a D90 at ISO1600 with a f/3.5 lens. On top of lens speed as an equalizing factor, the image quality will be better with the higher-end glass.
     
  8. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #8
    Either way, you might want to wait until PMA is over (late Feb) before buying anything. Nikon is due for some major announcements soon, for both bodies and lenses (fingers crossed for a prime refresh). Of course, if you're set on getting one of their Holy Trinity of pro zooms, now is as good a time as any, as replacements/reductions in price for them aren't going to happen for a while.

    You also might try to sell that D80/200 now, in anticipation of the used market getting cluttered with D700s, that is, if you believe the D900 rumors going around.
     
  9. jbernie macrumors 6502a

    jbernie

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #9
    Go for the glass, and while you are at it, maybe put some extra $$$ aside to do the body later if need be.

    Maybe even a better suggestion, get the best glass for the work you will do the most, maybe just 1 or 2 lenses, then work with the current body & the top glass and see where it leads you, you already know what you do the most and how good it is etc, so focus there, then once you know what is happening you can either fill out the glass or get the new body.

    Don't spend all your money on glass that may only be used a few times a year at most.
     
  10. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #10
    Always upgrade glass first if you aren't already shooting with pro-grade. Get what you need. If there's something left over then think about a better body.

    I shoot a D200 with a 17-55/2.8 and a 70-200/2.8 VR. There is no way I would go for a better body if it meant downgrading glass.
     
  11. Designer Dale macrumors 68040

    Designer Dale

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
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    #11
    I need to shut up when I'm feeling whimsical. What I intended to say was along the line of "Wow, do you ever have great gear!" I looked up your investment out of my own curiosity and should not have posted it. I have edited it out of my first post.

    My apologies.

    Dale
     
  12. AnimaLeo macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    #12
    El Cabong, how do you know when there will be a refresh? Or what they're going to be etc? I would like to get this website, as I am considering buying a lens around Febuary.
     
  13. OreoCookie macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2001
    Location:
    Sendai, Japan
    #13
    Another vote for glass.
    I'm also an owner of a D80 and I find nothing wrong with the camera. I've gotten myself the battery grip and an SB-600 for Christmas and I love the new creative freedoms I've gotten with the new flash.

    Current-gen cameras as better than the D80 and D200 in low light, but I agree that it's better to simply buy lenses with larger apertures rather than being forced to use ISO 3,200, because you need to use aperture f/5.6.

    So unless you really, really want to get into video, I wouldn't upgrade the body at all. Since you mention available light, have a look at Sigma's 30 mm f/1.4. Although the performance wide-open is not spectacular, there is no other lens like it (unless you're willing to spend a lot, lot more and find one of the rare 28 mm f/1.4 Nikkors). I've also been thinking about wide-angle options and Tokina's 17 mm springs to mind if you are interested in a wide-angle lens as it corresponds to 25 mm on full frame. For portraits, have a look at the nifty-fifty and the 85 mm f/1.8. Sigma's 50 mm f/1.4 lens is -- according to many reviews -- actually the best of the whole lot and beats Nikon's and Canon's older 50 mm designs. It's about on par with Nikon's new 50 mm AF-S. Alternatively, have a look at some of the macro lenses of similar focal length, they are well suited for portraits and you can do new things with them.

    If you want a zoom, the best is certainly Nikon's 17-55 mm, but it ain't cheap. If you want something a lot cheaper, have a look at Tamron's 17-50 mm f/2.8.
     
  14. El Cabong macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    #14
    Nikon Rumors:

    http://nikonrumors.com/2010/01/09/nikon-d700sd700xd800d900-confusion.aspx

    http://nikonrumors.com/category/nikon-lenses

    Basically, there's a big camera announcement expected at the PMA convention this February, and there tend to be lens announcements alongside camera announcements, so hopefully the long-awaited refresh will happen this year, and start in February with new 24mm and 85mm f/1.4s.

    Again, fingers crossed.
     
  15. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #16
    I"ll be ready for a D400 this year if it comes out. I've been wanting a second body, so I can stop changing lenses when I shoot at race tracks (and risk sensor dust). Otherwise, I'll probably get a D300s.
     
  16. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #17
    Does your upgrade necessitate you selling your bodies to do what you've proposed? Or are you planning on making the purchase and keeping the bodies and adding a 3rd?

    If you're planning on keeping the D80 and D200, I'd reccomend selling them and upgrading to a D700. Landscape is something that can really benefit from FX format sensors, but you'd need to put a really good lens in front of it. Something along the lines of a 24-70 or a 14-24. I think the D700 is the camera that in my opinion has reached the point where I feel the camera is more capable than I am. The AF system is amazing, and the overall handling of the body is incredible. About as versatile as a DSLR can be these days (if you're not wanting to shoot video with it) I don't care for video on an SLR, so in my eyes, the D700 is perfection.


    SLC
     
  17. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #18
    I'll be selling one or the other, but neither will bring in the kind of cash to justify a D700, perhaps a D300. I do agree with the others here that such a high end body isn't priority until I have a decent collection of glass. However, a D300 or D90 would be a cost effective upgrade at this point to get the video I want, along with better ISO, while still maintaining the cash I need for lens upgrades. I have the cash to upgrade further but I need a new laptop for on-location tethered shooting, so I'm going to grab a 13" MBP out of my upgrade cash.
     
  18. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #19
    Thom Hogan has some interesting thoughts that run a bit counter to the advice given so far - but only because he considers the D80 as somewhat weak compared to other Nikon consumer dSLRs.

    Actually I'm overstating that "disagreement" though. :) Per what others have already said, the main reason for upgrading a body is if the upgrade would address some shortcoming you're currently hitting with your existing camera. You say you shoot landscape - do you already use a good tripod and good glass (and a remote shutter release)? If so, upgrading to a camera that has mirror lockup (e.g. that D300 you mention) might get you that bit of extra sharpness in those photos. But then, the original D300 doesn't have video, and you specifically mentioned it as a "plus" - so you're really looking at a D300s if you want to go that route. The D90, on the other hand, offers video - but that video is still manual focus, which may be a concern depending on what you plan to use it for.
     
  19. Abraxsis thread starter macrumors 6502

    Abraxsis

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #20
    I agree with this, especially in long exposure situations. The D80 is well known for its "purple corner" defect which has caused me some issues w/ night photography. I ended up having to crank the ISO to compensate for the limited exposure time before the purple corners showed up. Excellent advice, thanks for the link!
     
  20. Mr Rich macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Location:
    London, England
    #21
    Go for glass.

    I know a guy with a D700 and he's got a 24-70 2.8 Zoom and a 70-200 2.8 zoom... now both of these lenses are "Pro" lenses and really really good. However, they're still zooms and where you will get good results, you won't get outstanding ones.

    Whereas I have a D80, and I have a 14mm 2.8, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8 and a 135mm f2. With prime lenses such as these you will get far better results. If it's for portraits, you will never take better photos than you will with the 50mm and the 85mm... obviously a 1.4 85mm lens would be even better but they are so expensive. The 50mm f1.4 is an amazing lens.

    Yes it's a hassle to change lenses all the time... but it depends what you want out of it.

    I've used a D300 with my lenses on occasion and to be honest, unless you're really cranking up the ISO, there is no noticeable difference between the D80 and the D300.
     
  21. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

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    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    You do know that the nikkor 14-24 f/2.8 is better than any of Nikon's primes at those focal lengths right? That's one of the things that's so great about the 24-70 and 14-24 lenses, they're pretty much like having a whole bag of primes. Nikon's 14 mm f/2.8 prime leaves a lot to be desired. Canon's on the other hand is fantastic.

    I used to be a prime only guy, I shot Pentax, who are known for having top notch primes. Prime lenses are great, but some of today's modern top end zooms can match or beat the primes they overlap with in image quality and certainly convenience.

    The main reason to buy a high end prime like the 85 f/1.4 for portraits is for it's bokeh. Not necessarily for resolution or AF speed and accuracy. You will get different results, but not necessarily better.

    SLC
     
  22. SLC Flyfishing Suspended

    SLC Flyfishing

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2007
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #23
    fair enough, but if you ever see yourself going FX in the future, aren't you aorta throwing cash away buying another DX body if only to fill a time gap? Is the D300 or D90 enough better to justify the coin you'd have to spend to upgrade? Or would you do better to spend solely on lenses. I'm in the camp that thinks upgrading to FX sensors would be worthwhile, otherwise it's as much high end glass as you can get. I don't think (this is just my opinion and what I'd do in your position) that the D90 or D300(s) are worth the money compared to what you already own. Unless this whole upgrade is designed to bring you into video ability with a DsLR

    SLC
     
  23. Mr Rich macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2010
    Location:
    London, England
    #24
    I do agree with you about the 14-24 2.8... however that is a cost issue. That wide angle zoom is incredibly expensive.

    However, with the zoom, I would never spend £1200 ($1700+) on a 24-70 zoom. You can buy the 85 1.4 and the 50 1.4 for less money together than buying the zoom, and I'd much rather have those two lenses.
     
  24. RaceTripper macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    #25
    Primes aren't always practical either. I shoot sports car races (for fun), and don't want to change lenses, partly because I don't feel like carrying numerous lenses around all day and partly because it's a dirty, dusty environment and one takes the chance of getting significant sensor dust with a lens change. Most of the pros shoot with 2-3 cameras (not necessary all at once). One with a zoom (say 24-70), another with a tele-zoom (70-200) and one with a bigger tele-prime (like 300, 400, 500).
     

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