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D40 to D90/D7K, or 70-300 VR to 300 f/4?

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  • D40 to D90/D7K, or 70-300 VR to 300 f/4?

    I have had my D40 for 3 years, it has produced many good shots, but I have been hard-pressed to get excellent results unless the light is absolutely perfect. This usually is the case for photography - light makes or breaks.

    But as of late, I have begun to start saving up for something. I will probably blow $250 on a cheap Rokinon fisheye, as shooting with a good flash at 5.6 on that lens is rumored to produce the same results as with the Nikkor 10.5/2.8. But within the next year or so, I may make a serious purchase. I've always put glass before bodies; I shoot a 70-300 VR on the long end and 35/1.8 on the short end.

    My eventual 'dream' kit (once I start working it will be attainable) is something like this:

    D7K
    80-200/2.8
    Tokina 11-16/2.8
    300/4, then maybe go big with the 300/2.8.

    The problem with making a purchase decision rests in the autofocus of non-AF-S lenses and the best body for my style. I have seriously been considering a D90 when it drops to 4-$500 used, as it offers AF, more AF points, some speed, and noise control so I can actually shoot above ISO200...quality plunges at even 400 on my D40 copy.

    The question is, would it be wiser to save a bit more and wait a bit more for a used D7000 - as in when it's like $800 used - to have a super-capable midrange body, or get the D90 and be that much closer to buying 2.8 glass? Or even not upgrade bodies at all but go for a 300/4 AF-S? I would like the 80-200 2.8 because it's almost as sharp as the $2400 70-200/2.8 yet is only $800, but it won't auto focus on my D40.

    I welcome any advice. (Obviously given my budget, I can't just switch to Canon )

  • #2
    Originally posted by Oliver P. View Post
    (1) ......I shoot a 70-300 VR on the long end and 35/1.8 on the short end........

    (2) .......The question is, would it be wiser to save a bit more and wait a bit more for a used D7000 - as in when it's like $800 used - to have a super-capable midrange body.......

    I welcome any advice. (Obviously given my budget, I can't just switch to Canon )
    (1) Excellent choice of lenses to go with a D7000 body.

    which leads me to .....

    (2) The D7000 body is selling in Europe for UK £700 / Euro 700 right now and that's brand new ! I sold one of my 2 D80's and put the money to a new D7000 body. That was the best move I ever made, so much so that I'll be selling my other D80 kit soon to fund another D7000 body.

    My current lenses are a Nikon VR 70-300, Sigma 17-70 f2.8-4.5 and a Sigma 120-400 image stabilised. I'll probably sell the D80 with the Sigma 17-70 and invest (AKA, an Xmas present from dearly beloved !) in a Nikon 18-105 VR to go with the second D7000 body. I'm also considering selling the 120-400 as I very rarely use it and although it's a very nice lens it needs a monopod/tripod and good light.

    My advice ? .... save and go for the D7000. You will not be disappointed.
    If it 'ain't broken........ Don't try to mend it !

    Comment


    • #3
      Looking at your shots I assume you're struggling with producing good results at the long 300mm end. I know exactly what you're talking about as I had to make a similar lens upgrade about 2 years ago. I went for a used 80-200mm AF-S which allows me to use Nikon converters and gives excellent results at 340mm using my TC-17E. I've been very pleased with it, although in low light the need for VR does occasionally arise.

      I echo what Brian said about the D7000. It's faster than the D90 and the RAW files it produces are more forgiving and give you more to play with.

      Originally posted by brianw999 View Post
      ... and invest (AKA, an Xmas present from dearly beloved !) in a Nikon 18-105 VR to go with the second D7000 body.
      The 18-105 came along with my D7000 as a kit lens. It's an ok lens, but it goes soft at the long end. Also, it produces quite a bit of chromatic aberration which can however be fixed. I'll probably be looking to replace it at some point.

      Comment


      • #4
        Take a look at the Sigma 18-125OS before you buy the Nikon 18-105.

        Back to the original question. You have a D40 not a D40x, so still have the early generation 6MP sensor, which is better than that on my old D100, but I know what you mean when you talk about needing good light to get good results.

        If you are looking for an affordable up-grade my choice would be a used D200. It uses the non AF-S lenses and while not so good at ISO400 it still has a very good picture quality. My wife uses one with the 70-300VR and she has a similar acceptance ratio, to what I have with a D300 + 80-200 / 300 2.8. The D80 would share the same sensor with the D200, but I prefer the handling, build and AF of the D200.

        Apart from that you won“t go wrong with a D90 /D7000 either.
        My photo editing guide - updated and improved Feb. 2010
        My Nikon D100,D200,D300, D800, D7200 basic spotting settings guide
        ACIG - the best resource for military aviation information

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        • #5
          Thanks for all of the advice everyone.

          Originally posted by magic48 View Post
          Looking at your shots I assume you're struggling with producing good results at the long 300mm end. I know exactly what you're talking about as I had to make a similar lens upgrade about 2 years ago. I went for a used 80-200mm AF-S which allows me to use Nikon converters and gives excellent results at 340mm using my TC-17E. I've been very pleased with it, although in low light the need for VR does occasionally arise.

          I echo what Brian said about the D7000. It's faster than the D90 and the RAW files it produces are more forgiving and give you more to play with.
          You really read my mind here. The shots I had just posted up on the prescreen forum are a case in point: ISO limited to 200, marginal light, 300mm on 70-300 VR, shutter on the slow side...not to mention shooting over 1/4 mile of water which messes with the atmosphere I think. Still, with good light at this same spot I framed what I consider my best shot of all time, albeit below 300mm and in much stronger springtime light.

          http://www.airliners.net/photo/Lufth...42X/1927984/L/

          I can buy the D7K now, but I don't know if I am ready to drop $1000 into a body, maybe a lens which doesn't lose value as fast. We'll see. I also find the idea of the 80-200 AF-S nice for the use of teleconverters, and it would work on the D40 as it's AF-S, but it would be cheaper to have the 80-200 AF-D; I can use the money saved to go for a 300/4 and TC-1.4 or 1.7, although 1.7*4=6.8, a little slow.

          Brian - I predicted you would be on the D7000 train. I've heard/seen great things from it, and played with one last summer, it's amazing.

          D200 - an interesting idea; the only reason I was not thinking of it was for its "Gen1" color rendition/metering etc. I bet I can get one pretty cheaply, but in terms of technical image quality I've always assumed it is a step behind the D90 and 7000.

          So it looks like I will save for the 7000. D90 would be a quick fix, but the way bodies depreciate, the 7000 could be in striking range next year.

          Lastly - any word on fisheyes? The Rokinon/Bower/Samyang/ProOptic I mentioned is actually not supposed to be a lemon even though it's $249; my goal would be to get flightdeck shots, which means I'd have to be good at Manual-focusing and metering an all-manual and handholding at f/5.6, might have to buy the SB-400 to make it work light-wise.

          http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/8mm-f35.htm

          Again, appreciate the advice.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Oliver P. View Post

            I welcome any advice. (Obviously given my budget, I can't just switch to Canon )

            Until I read the last line, I was going to suggest an EF600, it really will not disappoint you, in any light!

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Richard M. A. Wood View Post
              Until I read the last line, I was going to suggest an EF600, it really will not disappoint you, in any light!
              That's evil.

              I would say by all means upgrade your body, mainly to keep the AF of older lenses.

              Regarding the Rokinon fisheye and Tokina 11-16, have you thought about getting just one of them (if you don't mind losing either the fisheye effect or the zoom versatility)? I bought a Tokina 12-24 to have more room to play with cabin shots and museum photos and I've gotten great results. I was originally considering the RokBowSamPro 8mm, but ended up opting for a wider lens without the fisheye effect, with a slightly higher price tag, however.
              That said, I have heard nothing but great comments about the RokBowSamPro lenses, both the 8mm and the 35/1.4.

              So far I've gotten these two accepted (only 2 I have uploaded so far)
              http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.p...7213149&nseq=1
              http://www.jetphotos.net/viewphoto.p...7223631&nseq=0

              I believe this photo was taken with my very own 12-24 (which Joe and Dave borrowed for a few hours)
              http://www.airliners.net/photo/USA--...186c4f5bea37d9
              [SIGNATURE GOES HERE]

              Felipe Garcia

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              • #8
                My advice here ....take a look at what you really like doing...what area of photography that gives you the most satisfaction/enjoyment and then build on that.
                I see that you desire to capture both wide and medium telephoto shots and whatever in between. From the opening statement, if you can concentrate on what you really like to do, with time you will avoid buying any equipment that you may hardly use. This has noting to do with brand name!
                One more thing....do not invest hard earned money in cheap glass. You will be amazed as time goes on your perception of things will change, something that most of us on JP have experieced...regrets set in quickly...so wait and save and make a purchase that you will be happy with for a long time. I am not a professional but I have made hurry decisions in the past,,,regrets set in fast. All the best.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Richard M. A. Wood View Post
                  do not invest hard earned money in cheap glass. You will be amazed as time goes on your perception of things will change, something that most of us on JP have experieced...regrets set in quickly...
                  Like that damn 75-300 USM. If I wrote what I feel towards that lens I would probably crash the forum's censoring function.
                  [SIGNATURE GOES HERE]

                  Felipe Garcia

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Regarding the color rendition of the D200, I can say that I often prefer the colors of the D200 (CCD sensor) over the D300 (CMOS sensor) under natural light. And it already has 1005 Segment Color 3D Color Matrix Metering. (just generation I)
                    My photo editing guide - updated and improved Feb. 2010
                    My Nikon D100,D200,D300, D800, D7200 basic spotting settings guide
                    ACIG - the best resource for military aviation information

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Richard M. A. Wood View Post
                      One more thing....do not invest hard earned money in cheap glass. You will be amazed as time goes on your perception of things will change, something that most of us on JP have experieced...regrets set in quickly...so wait and save and make a purchase that you will be happy with for a long time. I am not a professional but I have made hurry decisions in the past,,,regrets set in fast. All the best.
                      I have heard this time and again and try to embody this phrase, but I have to justify the idea of upgrading bodies because it will allow me to purchase the top-notch fast glass I want. Also, with regard to that Rokinon Fisheye, I have had my eye on it for 15 months, and have been quite close to getting it on several occasions, at least to play with/return at the worst -
                      I have heard nothing but great comments about the RokBowSamPro lenses, both the 8mm
                      Same here.

                      if you can concentrate on what you really like to do, with time you will avoid buying any equipment that you may hardly use.
                      Good point. When I fly (maybe a few times a year) I manage to make a flightdeck visit pre/post flight, and try to get a few cabin shots, which would be much improved IMO with a fisheye. Most pros tell me that they are useless novelties, which they are in the real world, but when you shoot a flightdeck or cabin they are gold IMO. Likewise, when I go spotting I need often close to 300, and zoom for flexibility - another reason why Gianluca's suggestion to eventually go for the 80-200/2.8+1.7 would be quite effective - but well over the cost of the 7000. This brings me back to the idea of whether I should simply save for the 80-200/2.8 AF-S first, then go for the body; the D40 can AF with that. I honestly think I need both for what I like to shoot, but that's >$2000 and simply will not happen soon.

                      I can say that I often prefer the colors of the D200 (CCD sensor) over the D300
                      Very intersting, I will keep this in mind - although if I end up dropping serious cash on a body, I might go for a newer one...but with a D200 averaging $4-500 on ebay it is a consideration.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Little update here after the Christmas purchase period -

                        The chances of me purchasing the D7000 are about 40/60 for this year. After some great spotting opportunities, I have found that even what I have is decent for much of the time; the D7000 would give me the resolution, speed, and ISO necessary for another level of aviation photography, but a split side of me says that that "other level" is a euphemism for enhancing my acceptance ratio on cough cough a.net cough cough. That is always nice but not IMO worth $1000, since I like to shoot for fun. On yet another flip side, the 7000 may allow me to capture things differently - like getting better chances at catching that Blue Angel/Thunderbird opposing solo at 6fps versus 3.

                        Also - for those looking into that Rokinon 8mm f/3.5 Fisheye, I would say buy it hands down. 'Don't spend money on cheap glass' came to my mind several times, but after purchasing it and having an absolute blast with flightdecks, interiors, and museums over the past month, I have no regrets - $250 for magic. The all-manual design (with focus confirm) forces you to slow down and frame, test exposure, and set settings as if you're learning to shoot all over again, but it is well worth it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Cheap glass does not include anything Samyang/Rokinon/Bower. I'm sure that the lack of AF is makes them a good $300-400 cheaper. My buddy bought the 35 f1.4 (he's more of a portraits guy) and that thing is solid.
                          [SIGNATURE GOES HERE]

                          Felipe Garcia

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Felipe Garcia View Post
                            Like that damn 75-300 USM. If I wrote what I feel towards that lens I would probably crash the forum's censoring function.
                            So why do you still have one?

                            For more seriousness:
                            I would keep the D40 and buy the 300 f/4 for sure. Great piece of glass and later on you can upgrade to the phenomenal 300 f/2.8 like most owners of the f/4 do. D7K is a excellent choice of body and I suggest investing in a proper lens first vs the body. I could have now bought a 50D to replace my XS but decided to by a professional "L" series lens and keep the cheapo body. The results? Fantastic, probably better than if I would have a 50D now and the old 55-250 IS.
                            Primes are sharper lenses than zooms so you would love it even more even if your shooting with a cheap DSLR.
                            Flickr |Airliners.Net | Airplane-Pictures.Net | Jetphotos.Net

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                            • #15
                              Right Jan, that's always my plan of action. I shoot the 70-300 VR, which is at the same price point as the 70-200 f/4L. Shooting a Nikon body is different then a Canon one, because there are cheap fast lenses, like the 80-200 f/2.8 AF-D, which do not autofocus on budget bodies. While the 300 f/4 AF-S does autofocus on the D40 and is thus a good buy, the 80-200 f/2.8, 85 f/1.8, Tokina 11-16/2.8, and old 300 f/4 prime only work on midrange bodies. That is the argument for upgrading on the Nikon system for a cheap amateur like myself.

                              As was previously mentioned, I can go for the 80-200/2.8 AF-S, which is 700 more expensive than the AF-D model for autofocus, not optical quality...it seems as though going for the D7000 when its used price is around 900 would be a better buy, because its price is almost justified just with the purchase of the 80-200/2.8, not even the other lenses I mentioned.

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