Upgrade D80 to D300 or buy nikon 85mm f1.8

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by jmdfd415, May 13, 2009.

  1. jmdfd415 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    Ok I have been going back and fourth about this for a few weeks and I cannot decide on which I wanna do. I have a d80 and I am pretty happy with it but I know I want to upgrade. The current lenses I have are the tamron 17-50mm and the nikon 50mm 1.8. The 85mm is tempting I dont know if I really need that lens. Right now I think I am leaning towards the D300 what do you guys think?
  2. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    Firstly, I like your photography. Some really nice shots there.

    Can I ask why you want to upgrade (you say you definitely want to)? Or to put it another way, what do you want to achieve from your new kit that you can't achieve with your current kit? And, specifically, what would you use the fast 85mm for, and which of the specs/features of the D300 appeals to you compared with your D80?

    Sorry for answering a question with more questions, but it would be interesting to know a bit more about your needs/wants before offering advice.
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    You say you're happy with your camera, but you definitely want to upgrade. Why bother upgrading?

    You said you're not even sure about the lens. Why buy the lens?

    My advice: Buy neither.
  4. jmdfd415 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    Thank you for the complement on my photography! ok lets see as far as the body goes I do like the d80 but the iso performance on the d300 is much better the d80 seems to be hit or miss above 800. I tend to shoot indoors sometimes and even with my 50mm at 1.8 I still sometimes have to crank up the iso. Another thing is I like the feel of the d300 much better. The d80 is just a tad too small I feel and the size and weight of the d300 just feels much nicer in my hands. The 51 focus points on the d300 is also a plus for me as there are many times I have to move the camera to get it focused on what I want and I feel that I loose some sharpness doing this.

    As far as the 85mm goes. I am starting to get more into portraiture Ive only posted one on flickr but I do have more that I havent posted. From what ive heard the 85mm is the best portrait lens there is. I dont mind my 50mm for this it just seems that to get a nice tight headshot you need to get a little close to the subject and my concern about this is when shooting with strobes I dont know if being that close is the best idea since it may effect the lighting.
  5. FourCandles macrumors 6502a

    Feb 10, 2009
    I agree with what you say about the D80 in terms of ISO and AF. Size and weight in your hands is subjective of course. The D80 was right for me compared with the (at the time) D200, but I'm a strong believer is getting a camera that feels good and handles how you want it.

    Well, you may only be just getting into portraiture but I think there's also quite a few of your photos, or at least the style/genre, that lend themselves to using an 85mm. The 50mm 1.8 is a great lens, and IMO without doubt the best value lens in the Nikon range, but it is only a 75mm equivalent, which is definitely at the very short end of the portrait range.

    Personally, I'd usually go for glass rather than body. I take your points on the body issues but you don't seem *that* dissatisfied with the D80.

    I think in your situation ideally I'd try and borrow an 85 or 90mm lens and see how much you end up using it before laying the cash down. Or even borrow a zoom that covers 85mm and keep it on that focal length (I know a zoom won't give you the depth of field of the 1.8).

    I guess what it boils down to is, buying an 85mm will take you into areas that you're not currently in, whereas a D300 will let you keep doing what you're doing now, but better.
  6. ckseid macrumors newbie

    Sep 28, 2008
    Los Angeles
    Why not consider the D90? ISO performance is the same as D300.
    I own a D80, D300, and D700. From what i read, the D90 is basically the same in terms of ISO performance with the D300. Its just in a smaller body. I say, get the D90 and use the spare money to get the 85mm. :)
  7. compuwar macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2006
    Northern/Central VA
    Shooting with strobes, you control the light- so you can always adjust it, but generally the subject<->lighting distance is the larger part of the equation. As long as you're not inside your modifiers and not reflecting onto the scene I wouldn't worry much about camera<->subject distance.
  8. Eric Piercey macrumors 6502

    Eric Piercey

    Nov 29, 2006
    Perpetual Bondage
    I know where you can get a D200 with battery grip for $600 in mint condition. My old camera. I want that lens as well, but I'd ditch the body first. I picked up a D80 back in the day and it felt too light and toylike to suit my needs. Currently I'm on the D300 and the ISO isn't all that, either. At 800+ I still see a lot of noise shooting with an 80-200 2.8.

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